What’s stopping Braves, Wren from trading a pitcher?

Are Braves overvaluing pitching prospects like Mike Minor? (Hyosub Shin/AJC)

Are Braves overvaluing pitching prospects like Mike Minor? (Hyosub Shin/AJC)

I’m going to refrain from excessive bashing of Braves general manager Frank Wren — maybe just a few jabs — until we see what (if anything) he does between now and the major league trade deadline.

But I do have one question: How much pitching does one franchise need?

The Braves apparently lost out to San Francisco in the Carlos Beltran sweepstakes in part because Wren was not willing to part with a top pitching prospect, like Mike Minor.

Should Braves have traded a pitching prospect for Carlos Beltran?

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It’s common in pro sports for teams to overvalue their own prospects. We know the Braves’ success since the 1990s has been built on pitching. The organization has done a wonderful job developing young arms. But dealing a pitcher for a player (like Beltran) who potentially can put a team over the top seems logical.

Let’s look at the depth chart. The Braves have five solid starters: Tommy Hanson, Tim Hudson, Jair Jurrjens, Derek Lowe and Brandon Beachy. Lowe has only one year left on his contract and conceivably may not be here even that long. Hudson is 36 years old. That still leaves three starters potentially for the long term.

The organization also has at least four top pitching prospects. Julio Teheran is the consensus No. 1. The next three, in no particular order: Minor, Randall Delgado and Arodys Vizcaino. While there’s no guarantee all will make it at the major league level, the Braves realistically only would need two of them to fill out a five-man rotation in the future (assuming Hanson, Jurrjens and Beachy are kept and stay healthy).

So why not trade one? It certainly wouldn’t qualify as mortgaging the future.

The Braves need offensive help. Chipper Jones can’t be counted on to get and stay healthy. Brian McCann is out two to three weeks. Others are either banged up, struggling or both. This is not a new problem, the McCann injury just made the situation a little more desperate.

Wren has the assets to trade to make this team better. But the deadline is only four days away, and San Francisco, one of the Braves’ competitors for a National League pennant and a World Series just got better.

By Jeff Schultz

Earlier: Heyward still determined to make impact on Braves’ system

Earlier: A long night, an awful call, a Braves win led by Scott Proctor

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC; friend me at Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

324 comments Add your comment

Travis

July 27th, 2011
4:31 pm

You have to think that even if Braves were to offer Minor, Beltran would still be a Giant. 1.) Wheeler > Minor and 2.) Beltran/Boras preferred Giants.

Joey

July 27th, 2011
4:32 pm

Let the Big Dawg Eat

July 27th, 2011
4:33 pm

I say let’s go strong after B.J. Upton.

Hoosier in ATL

July 27th, 2011
4:33 pm

Do you actually think the Braves will keep JJ? You do know who his agent is don’t you?

Hollywould

July 27th, 2011
4:33 pm

Where is Dan Kolb when we need him?

Joey

July 27th, 2011
4:34 pm

I’ve seen rumors involving either/both Denard Spann and Reed Johnson. Not in Beltran’s class but at this point they desperately need a right handed outfield bat.

Hoosier in ATL

July 27th, 2011
4:34 pm

Joey, you’re a douche……

Bryan G.

July 27th, 2011
4:34 pm

That’s bad news. They still need a bat and an extra bullpen arm other than O’Ventrel

cable guy

July 27th, 2011
4:35 pm

Mr. Wren NEEDS to come off the hip with a pitcher to get a stick in here that will hit. They’re doing us no good at AAA!!!

Joey

July 27th, 2011
4:35 pm

BJ Upton would arguably require parting with one of the aforementioned “untouchables” so if he (FW) wouldn’t deal one for Beltran, what are the odds he would do so now for Upton?

Reid Adair

July 27th, 2011
4:35 pm

Two words – Frank Wren.

Black Coffee & Bourbon

July 27th, 2011
4:36 pm

Beltran is over rated, glad to see Wren didn’t pull the trigger on that deal.

Seen (The Aints) This (get obliterated) B4 (by the only sub-.500 playoff team in the history of pro football)

July 27th, 2011
4:36 pm

If the Braves don’t move fast, here come the D-Backs on our heels.

PMC

July 27th, 2011
4:37 pm

They just drafted a duplicate of Mike Minor in Sean Gilmartin.

I’m wondering if the Mets just felt better about trading Beltran out of the division.

Thank God this is the last year with Nate. They’ll HAVE to go get better outfielders at some point.

DB

July 27th, 2011
4:37 pm

Beltran is an infield single from going on the DL.

Kudzu

July 27th, 2011
4:38 pm

Dude, I live in Tampa, Upton is a malcontent…The Braves have a culture, (like it or not) and he won’t fit…

G

July 27th, 2011
4:38 pm

Wren just seems lost as a GM… His history is way below average. He will go out and get some guy like Greg Norton and a right handed relief pitcher and this team will fade. He will then do what he did last year, “Injuries really hurt us down the stretch.” “It would have been good to have our full lineup.” All stuff other teams GM’s don’t say. They suck it up and do what they have to do.

Bob in SF

July 27th, 2011
4:38 pm

If Beltran had not had the “no arbitration” clause in his contract it might have been worth it but if they had pulled the trigger The Braves would have been out a young arm without any draft pick compensation once Beltran walked. But even with Beltran, I’m not sure they would have enough offense to beat the Phils and ultimately the Rangers, Yankees or BoSox in the post season. Gonzo, Heyward and McLouth are all out machines right now.

j

July 27th, 2011
4:39 pm

Completely agree with Jeff

Moxie

July 27th, 2011
4:41 pm

I’m not disappointed that they didnt trade for Beltran, cause he wasn’t worth it. But Wren seriously needs to make a trade. This team as it is, is okay but when other teams are getting better and the Braves are staying the same, there is a problem. But seriously why does it seem that everybody(Braves) get hot at the same time and they all get cold at the same time? What the heck is up with that?

the truth

July 27th, 2011
4:41 pm

Well, to all you knowledgeable Braves fans who didn’t want to trade Minor for Beltran, you better hope Minor wins alot of games for us in the future, and that Beltran doesn’t go on a tear that brings San Fran their second championship in a row. Now here comes Wren with a Marlon Byrd type telling us how we have all the pieces in place for a run. What a crock. Minor will never be anything. Hope y’all are happy.

The Ghost of Rick Camp

July 27th, 2011
4:42 pm

I believe if Minor were a righty, it would be easier for the Braves to part with him. As far as I know, we don’t have any top-prospect lefty starters at AAA, AA or high A.

I’d like to know how guys like Todd Redmond, JJ Hoover, Brett Oberholtzer, etc. would be ranked if they were in someone else’s system. None of them are on the Braves Top 10 prospect list. After some of the bad “blockbuster” trades, when we gave up the farm for JD Drew and Teixera, I can understand the hesitancy to trade our best prospects. If we ever want to trade the best pitching prospects, we’ll get more for them in the future than we would now.

I’d like to see us get a CF who can hit both L and R pitchers, a platoon OF who can play RF or LF and pinch hit against lefties and replace Heyward against lefites (and his .167 average against them).
Then, add an extra relief arm or give a new AAA pitcher a shot at that role… GO BRAVES….!

bobby's cox

July 27th, 2011
4:44 pm

hunter pence is the player we need!!!! and he won’t be a 3 month rental!!!!! i’d trade a young arm for him in a heartbeat. i’m sure the giants and boras already have an agreement in place to keep him in SF long term and the Bravos wouldn’t do that

Sutton's Fro

July 27th, 2011
4:46 pm

I’ve heard baseball writers and fans refer to the McGriff deal as the touchstone for the Braves’ history of great midseason acquisitions. The reason they bring up a deal nearly 20 years old is because most of the recent ones have been busts in terms of getting to the World Series (much less winning one): Derrek Lee, Alex Gonzalez (in the Yunel disposal), McLouth, Casey Kotchman (in the Teixeira disposal), Ryan Church (in the Frenchy disposal), JD Drew, etc. Even free agent signings of Uggla, Glaus, Cabrera, Sheffield didn’t elevate the offense.

Given the history of little-to-no improvement, and trouble acclimating to the Braves’ clubhouse midseason — why give up an A prospect for a B- to C+ position player that we’re only renting for a few months? If we’re going to give up a great prospect, let’s get a young guy on his way up the ladder that we can sign for a few years or more.

JEB

July 27th, 2011
4:46 pm

I think that Wren WILL make a trade!
If you are going to trade a top pitching prospect –
then trade for a player that will be of value to your team for a few more years.
NOW and for the Future.
I think THAT is what Wren will do.
Names: Hunter Pence – Carlos Quinton come to mind.

TomB

July 27th, 2011
4:46 pm

I agree with Wren. There is a smart way and a dumb way to get a bat. Trading away future pitching of this caliber for a two month rental is the dumb way in my opinion. Rebuild and reload in the offseason. Getting Beltran will not put the Braves over the top this year.

Keeper

July 27th, 2011
4:46 pm

“San Francisco, one of the Braves’ competitors for a National League pennant and a World Series just got better” — agreed (and very glad it wasn’t Philly). But would you risk making a key division rival better for 5 or more years by giving them a young, cheap, lefty starter? I wouldn’t. As bad as we’ve all felt the last few years while watching Wainwright thrive with the Cards, imagine how much more that would be compounded if we were competing head-to-head yearly.

Besides, as Travis pointed out, Beltran/BoreA$$ still would’ve gone with San Fran so he could pimp his numbers heading into free agency – the decision was almost certainly out of Wren’s hands. Like you said, let’s see what Wren has up his sleeve between now and Sunday.

Ken Shelton

July 27th, 2011
4:47 pm

It’s easy to see why some General Managers would be tempted to pull the trigger to get a big bat, but I never thought Beltran was the answer, seeing he while healthy this season has a long history if being injury plagued and there’s not a snowballs chance in (you know where) to re-sign the soon-to-be-former Met slugger, seeing who his agent is? Some may say the Braves have enough stock-pile of pitching to last many years, not exactly true? fact is, though still a while once both Hanson and Jurrjens contract is up they’ll flee to a highest bidder that certainly want be the Braves with Scott Boras as their agent! When you add to the elements Tim Hudson is age 36 and like most think Derek Lowe may be sporting something other than the Tomahawk Chop next year, and I think the verdict is still out on Brandon Beachy, as some games he has been sharp, and others nothing worth writing home about? As far s those top referred to prospects, they are prospects for a reason and have yet-to-earn their stripes in real battle? Overall, I think the Braves need to get a proven bench player and another worthy arm in the bullpen, and hope & pray Jayson Heyward and Dan Uggla comes through down the stretch, as they could carry the club, with the supporting cast around them!

Fan since '70

July 27th, 2011
4:47 pm

In hindsight of the Teixeira deal, Braves pitching prospects are worth more than Beltran. There are better trade options: Pence, Ludwick, etc.

Disgusted

July 27th, 2011
4:48 pm

With Brian out 2 weeks and Chipper, well you know, This really makes me angry,disgusted,and a lot more emotions that arent good. Im a braves fan. Mike Minor will never be a factor with the braves. Frank has let a chance slip by that is un-forgivable. If we had everyone healthy, diffrent story, but we dont. All us braves fans can do is watch everyone around us including the Nationals get better…thanks Wren!!!!

hirsutedawg

July 27th, 2011
4:48 pm

We couldn’t offer more than Edwin Jackson to the Cardinals for Colby Rasmus? Really?

Lowcountry Bulldawg

July 27th, 2011
4:50 pm

Upton is hitting .160 the past two weeks. Hitting .240 over the past moNTH. The Braves have hit 20 something singles the past 2 games so Span and Bourn are not needed. They need a run producing bat.

Honestly I think Wrenn does not think the bats available talent wise warrant moving any of th epitchers mentioned. Pence may but you have to overpay to get him.

I would say Wrenn is itching to make a move, but will not make a move that may handicap the franchise down the road for a mediocore answer.

Also Jeff, Good morning to ya!!!!

Jeff

July 27th, 2011
4:52 pm

BJ Upton has 15 HR’s, 53 RBI, and 23 SB’s. That is a vast improvement over what we currently have in CF. Yes, his BA is pathetic at .227 but still much better than what we have. I also heard we might be going after Adam Jones.

ted williams head

July 27th, 2011
4:53 pm

Wren is going to come up with another 1 year wonder like McLouth, count on it

South Georgia Boy

July 27th, 2011
4:53 pm

Everybody talks about the Braves trading young pitchers and it is well known that is our strength in th minors. Nobody talks about our position playes in the minor leagues. Are they that weak?

Lowcountry Bulldawg

July 27th, 2011
4:53 pm

Also go look at Ludwicks numbers. He is performing as bad or worse than Upton. He has 2 Homeruns in the past month to go along with a Uggla like .195 average. So again where is that benefitting the lineup?

the truth

July 27th, 2011
4:56 pm

Beltran was only “injury prone” over the last two years due to a knee injury. Having a fantastic year, leads league in OBP, only missed a few games this year because of the FLU, plays multiple outfield positions, switch hitter. You don’t want him for multiple years so you can go get your beloved Hunter Pence next year when the Astros are actually going to trade him (he’s not going anywhere before the deadline! Do y’all not keep up? And if he was, it would take a slew of your beloved prospects to get him, not just Mike Minor). We let the perfect deal pass us by, and I hope y’all are ready to eat crow, cause I’ll be here to feed it to you.

the truth

July 27th, 2011
4:57 pm

Enter your comments here

KennesawFAN

July 27th, 2011
4:58 pm

What about Medlen in all of this? Last year he was awesome before his arm blew out. He will be contending for a starting position next year im sure you can count on that. I say trade Minor get a bat and lets go for it

Mike Smith

July 27th, 2011
4:58 pm

I dont know Jeff. If we were talking Mark Texiera again, then I’d say yes. But Beltran? This guy has solid numbers…when he’s healthy. He’s had severe health problems in NY and has basically been their version of Mike Hampton (a lot of money for a player that stays on the DL more than on the field). This to me is not a good rental which is exactly what it should only be. Beltran is in his mid 30’s so there is no reason to want to sign him long term.

Jason

July 27th, 2011
4:58 pm

Beltran isn’t worth it, but the Braves do need to make a couple moves with all the injuries stacking up. McCann & Schafer DL, Chipper injured, J-Hey & Prado struggling with their swing, Gonzalez should be batting 10th or 11th. That leaves Freeman and Uggla as the only bright spots in the lineup. Not good.

Reality

July 27th, 2011
4:58 pm

JJ and Hanson Re Boras guys. When was the last time we signed a Boras guy? Maddux arbitration? That cost dearly. I believe we have given up without negotiating since then.

With Lowe and Hudson at/or near the end and JJ and Hanson on their way out as soon as they can become FAs, better be careful about giving starting pitchers to the Mets

Kudzu

July 27th, 2011
4:59 pm

Without B-Mac the Braves are down 3 bats….

Oh No

July 27th, 2011
5:00 pm

Beltran will become Derrick Lee if he comes here

Jeff Schultz

July 27th, 2011
5:01 pm

Folks, just a little gasoline on the trade-deadline fire: Houston does not have Hunter Pence in the lineup tonight. Don’t know what, if any significance, but figured it was worth mentioning.

Dawg fan in Grayson

July 27th, 2011
5:01 pm

two years in a row the Giants beat Wren to his apparent target. Last year it was Cody Ross who was a big factor in helping them win the WS. Have they done it again? Wren is a horrible GM, but we all knew that when he was hired. I bet he could get Ankiel again. Wren is not in it to win it.

JMar

July 27th, 2011
5:03 pm

I’d rather have Marlon Byrd than Carlos Beltran, he’s got a great contract for a third year, and he’ll be available for much less in terms of prospects.

PTC DAWG

July 27th, 2011
5:04 pm

The team seems to need another bat. I say we get one.

Atlanta87

July 27th, 2011
5:05 pm

A guy goes into a restaurant/lounge wearing a shirt open at the collar and is met by a bouncer who tells him he must wear a necktie to gain admission. So the guy goes out to his car and he looks around for a necktie and discovers that he just doesn’t have one. He sees a set of jumper cables in his trunk. In desperation he ties these around his neck, manages to fashion a fairly acceptable looking knot and lets the ends dangle free. He goes back to the restaurant and the bouncer carefully looks him over for a few minutes and then says, “Well, OK, I guess you can come in – just don’t start anything.”

the truth

July 27th, 2011
5:06 pm

Well, if you want Marlon McLouth more than winning then you deserve what the Braves have become: non-contenders.