Bradley’s Buzz: Buster helps the Braves make a deal!

Trade partners for the Atlanta Braves?

Here are six, as listed by Buster Olney of ESPN.com, who assumes the Braves are looking to trade Yunel Escobar and Javier Vazquez. (Didn’t someone we know address the Escobar issue last week? And didn’t the same someone suggest the Vazquez thing two months ago?) Since this is an ESPN Insiders thing and the link requires registration, I’ll again quote extensively:

Boston: “In order to make a deal for Escobar, the Red Sox would probably have to engage a third team, and here’s the thing — they are perfectly suited to do this, because they have the commodity that everybody else want: pitching. In theory [and what immediately follows is pure speculation], they could engage the Brewers about Corey Hart, or the Indians about someone like Shin-Soo Choo or Matt LaPorta. The Red Sox could flip a pitcher to another team, and that team could flip a hitter to the Braves. Boston also could eat a lot of money on Julio Lugo’s contract and hand him over to Atlanta, as a short-term stopgap at shortstop. [The Red Sox are not interested in Jeff Francoeur, by the way.]”

Kansas City: “The Braves and the Royals match like puzzle pieces in a possible Escobar deal. The Royals want and need a shortstop. The Braves could use someone like Mark Teahen, who could give Atlanta great flexibility. Teahen, a solid veteran hitter, could play third in place of Jones, or start in left field or right field, or first base, or even second base. If the Braves required the Royals to take on some money, then Francoeur could be added to the trade; Dayton Moore, the Kansas City GM, has known Francoeur for years and coveted him, and he could use the last months of this season to evaluate him. The Braves could use another middle reliever; the Royals have Juan Cruz and Ron Mahay, pieces that Atlanta knows well. Moore knows the Braves’ farm system. A lot of elements in place here.”

Milwaukee: “If the Braves were to market Vazquez, they could just deal with the Brewers directly. Milwaukee has no need for Escobar, because the Brewers have Alcides Escobar on the rise. Milwaukee would not consider trading Ryan Braun in any deal, and more than likely Prince Fielder would be out of the question. [He's a Boras client and the Braves have already been down the path of a Boras-client-type of rental with Mark Teixeira, a situation that didn't pan out.]

“Hart would be the natural fit, although it’s unclear whether he would necessarily be a significant upgrade over Francoeur, given the streaky nature of his offense. “There are times when he just looks like he has no clue,” said one longtime talent evaluator. “I’ve seen him this season when he’s looked absolutely lost.” Hart, 27, is hitting .246 and nine homers, and if Milwaukee talked about a possible Hart/Vazquez swap, the Brewers would obviously have to include another really nice piece in the deal.”

Minnesota: “Escobar would be perfect for the Twins in many respects, and Minnesota has an array of outfielders to choose from, whether it be Michael Cuddyer or Denard Span; Delmon Young is hitting .264 with three homers, and it’s hard to imagine that the Braves would seriously consider him in any trade. But the Twins’ focus is on relief pitching, and an aggressive midseason deal really doesn’t fit their style — and if Escobar’s conduct in Atlanta has turned off the Braves’ coaching staff, then this is certainly not the type of thing that the Twins would go for. Span is an interesting name, though, because his service time [and salary] is close to that of Escobar, and he is widely seen as a player on the rise.”

Los Angeles Dodgers: “GM Ned Colletti is looking for pitching, and Vazquez would be absolutely perfect for L.A.’s rotation. He would give them a veteran, frontline innings-eater along the lines of what they had in Derek Lowe last year, and Joe Torre knows him well and would certainly endorse an acquisition of him. The Dodgers also have some payroll flexibility, and they have an extra outfielder, as the world knows. Juan Pierre hit .318 during Manny Ramirez’s absence, but presumably, the Braves would prefer someone with a little more thump.”

Which bat would best benefit the Braves?

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Oakland: “Escobar could be a long-term answer at shortstop now that the Bobby Crosby era is over, and the Athletics could not only deliver Matt Holliday and Orlando Cabrera to Atlanta to help in the short-term, but they might also be in position to pay a lot of their salaries, as well. But given an array of choices, the Braves would prefer to trade Escobar for pieces that would help them beyond 2009; Holliday and Cabrera would walk away as free agents after the season.”

OK, you’re asking — well, maybe you’re not asking — what do I think? I don’t see any deal for Yunel Escobar happening unless the Braves get a shortstop in return, and why trade for a shortstop when you already have a shortstop and your greater need is elsewhere? As for Francoeur-for-Hart: The latter is hitting .249. Why trade like for like?

As I’ve said, it makes more sense to deal Vazquez — this assumes Tim Huson looks strong in rehab work — for a big bat. Maybe Cuddyer would be that bat, but I wonder. (He likewise hit .249 last season.) For all Mr. Olney’s fine work, I don’t see a real match above.

My match: Adam Dunn of Washington.

Hey, remember the big guy from Augusta State?

This correspondent suggested the Hawks make Garret Siler their No. 2 pick in last month’s draft. Astonishingly, Rick Sund and Dave Pendergraft failed to heed that high-priced advice. But the Hawks have apparently seen fit to give the 7-footer a look.

Reports Stan Byrdy of Augusta’s NBC affiliate, WAGT: Siler is headed to Las Vegas to play for Minnesota in the NBA’s summer league for rookies and free agents — and then will report to minicamp for your Atlanta Hawks.

525 comments Add your comment

BT

July 6th, 2009
11:53 am

Get Escobar on the right track don’t trade him. How long before the Braves have to decide if they are buyers or sellers?

Daniel

July 6th, 2009
11:55 am

Daniel

July 6th, 2009
11:56 am

Dang, came close

Mark Bradley

July 6th, 2009
11:56 am

As of Thursday night, I’d have sworn they were buyers. And I still think they’ll be. Wren has been way too aggressive these past nine months to give up on the season now, especially with nobody else in the East looking all that strong.

Reid Adair

July 6th, 2009
11:57 am

Good grief. Buster Olney has lost his mind. But, hey, I wouldn’t be surprised if Frank Wren doesn’t go for one of those suggested deals.

Daniel

July 6th, 2009
11:58 am

I don’t like any of the above scenarios either. I do like the idea of trading Yunel to the Red Sox for Bucholtz, which would then make trading Javy a lot easier and more valuable. If in the entire move you get a young front line starter, you could possibly live with a year rental or so. this of course depends on how the Braves play this week.

Mark Bradley

July 6th, 2009
11:59 am

As I said, I can’t see the Braves trading Escobar unless they receive a starting shortstop in return. And I don’t think Julio Lugo is what anyone has in mind.

jeffrey d

July 6th, 2009
11:59 am

I hate how ESPN makes you have to pay for a lot of their “expert” opinions. Most newspapers are free. Yahoo! Sports is free. But ESPN, they have the best in the business. I’d be insulted too if those suckers didn’t pay for my thoughts. Thanks a lot Mark (although I wonder how Mr. Olney feels about this).

The only player on that list that would improve our team is Holliday, and it’d be stupid to trade for him (it’d be Mark Teixeira part 2). And I don’t see why you trade Escobar. We have so many question marks, why create one more by trading an elite SS? Because Yunel’s been hot headed and had some defensive mishaps this season? Yeah okay.

My vote goes for Dunn too, but it’s not like they’re looking to compete this year. They wouldn’t want Vazquez, or anything less than prospects or a good young player in the early days of his arb. clock.

Daniel

July 6th, 2009
12:01 pm

I would take Holliday and Cabrerra for Vasquez if, we got the aforementioned deal done with Boston.

jermaine's dye

July 6th, 2009
12:04 pm

MB, good run down.

But who would the Nats want for Dunn?

Vasquez? Escobar?

Daniel

July 6th, 2009
12:04 pm

then you get a short stop and of with power, plus you improve your rotation with a young long term future ace to go along with Hanson, and JJ. Hudson could be a valuable addition to the bullpen during the rest of the summer with possible spot starts. You have the makings of a winner this year with long term potential and a lot of money to address the potential loss of cabrera and holliday in the off season.

bvillebaron

July 6th, 2009
12:09 pm

Nothing like raw speculation this time of the year, huh? Trading Escobar without getting a shortstop in return would be sheer lunacy. Are any of you fans excited about Denard Span, Corey Hart, Michael Cuddyer, etc. Actually, I kind of like the Choo proposal–solid average, speed and pop.

mudcat

July 6th, 2009
12:16 pm

I agree with Daniel. None of those scenarios work. I can’t believe we’d give a #2 quality starter for a player unless he was someone like Brad Hawpe or Alex Rios or someone of that ilk who is a solid performer with some upside potential. I’d rather keep Javier if that’s the case. Starting pitching is our strength. Don’t give it away. Trading Escobar is insane. Wren has done a great job with the rotation, so give him time to improve the offense. He just has to be careful.

Keeping It Real

July 6th, 2009
12:20 pm

If the Braves trade Escobar and Vazquez for any of the guys mentioned in the article, then they really are inept. This would be worse than the Texira trade. I watched two of the former Braves from that trade play and win last night for Texas. The other two are up and coming. What do the Braves have to show for that trade? Also, why continue to wait for Hudson? He’s through so sign Vazquez and move forward. Also, please don’t believe that that Hanson will continue to win like he has been doing. Vazquez is the better pitcher.

AlabamaBrave

July 6th, 2009
12:20 pm

Daniel I really don’t think the Braves want to trade away a player like Escobar for two rentals who will bolt at the end of the year. Keep Escobar and try to get Dunn somehow. He is the power threat they need.

RJB in Atlanta

July 6th, 2009
12:24 pm

I understand the talk about moving Javy for a bat. Which assumes we will be picking up Hudson’s option next year.

But who keeps coming up with the bonehead idea of trading Escobar? I mean for 400K a year, we get a premier shortstop who is putting up numbers like .293/.355/.433 with 42 rbi’s. Is there any other starting shortstop who puts up those numbers for that value in MLB?

Frankly, I don’t see how his attitude is “broken”… but if you really want to correct it, my vote is to pay him (at least) what you are paying Frenchy, and let him know that we plan for him to be with us for the long term–and that he needs to start being a team leader.

hhmmm

July 6th, 2009
12:26 pm

Medlen and Kotch for Dunn.

RobertNAtl

July 6th, 2009
12:27 pm

Cormer outfielders and first basemen should be the easiest holes on a team to fill. Keep Escobar — a good bat for a SS — and trade JoJo Reyes (and Francoeur, if that’s what it takes) for an somewhat aging thumper in LF or RF or at 1B. If a 1B, we could part with Kotchman as well. Some candidates:

Jermaine Dye
Adam Dunn
Todd Helton
Lance Berkman

An off-the-wall name: Andruw Jones.

Braves73

July 6th, 2009
12:28 pm

What the heck was Buster Olney thinking? None of those proposed scenarios helps the Braves. Why would Frank Wren go through all of the off season trouble to rebuild the pitching staff, only to give up your most consistent arm? There’s no way Wren can take the gamble on Hudson coming back and being anywhere near his pre-surgery form. Also, Escobar is a very talented shortstop (even though he may be aloof at times). The Braves don’t have anything equal to Esco in their farm system.

I believe if the Braves make a move, it will be one that catches everyone off guard and includes some unlikely candidates.

ltdbrave

July 6th, 2009
12:29 pm

Why trade Vasquez? He is pitching well. Trade Lowe.

Daniel

July 6th, 2009
12:32 pm

alabamabrave- my trade scenario only works if we would be getting Bucholtz in the deal too.

Mad Dog

July 6th, 2009
12:32 pm

Maybe Wren could trade Escobar for Elvis Andrus. Then Escobar could make the ex Braves allstar team along with DeRosa, Dye, and Smoltz.

W

July 6th, 2009
12:35 pm

Keep Mr. Escober. going to be an All star (give him some Ridlin)., Trade Vasquez for Fielder. We can reahbilitae Jeffry next year since we won’t get a return on him now. Finally trade Gonzo and , Kotchman for Cuddyer andr Denard Span

Escobar Rocks

July 6th, 2009
12:37 pm

I would also like to know how all of these rumors started about the Braves trading Escobar. Has Wren or Bobby ever told anyone that Escobar is on the block? Or is this just from the imagination of Buster Olney?

I agree with what MB says, why trade a shortstop to get another shortstop….but especially when the shortstop you are trading is young, good and locked up cheaply for the next four years.

I wouldn’t mind them trading Vazquez. They got him relative cheaply in that they only gave up one upper level prospect. If they could trade him now for a couple of upper level prospects (or a young hitter) then they would have made a profit on him. His value is higher now than it ever will be. I think Medlen shows a lot of promise and could be the 5th starter in the rotation until Hudson is ready to return.

I could also see them trading Kotchman and then making another trade to get someone with a little power who could play 1B.

Scooby-Doo

July 6th, 2009
12:37 pm

Escobar can go and take his shotty defensive work and his FROSTED FLAKES hairdo somewhere else.

Vazquez can stay.

Michael Vick can go burn in the Eternal Lake of Fire.

Jimv

July 6th, 2009
12:38 pm

When the Nats beat you because of your bullpen, don’t be trading shortstops or starters. Relievers have been the Braves’ problem since April.

kappellmeister

July 6th, 2009
12:40 pm

MB,

Are you thinking Vasquez and Francoeur BOTH for Dunn??? I have that sinking feeling that JF will still be a star one day…

the truth...

July 6th, 2009
12:42 pm

I’d send Lowe packing long before Javy….why the rush to send Javy anywhere….get some offense and he’s got 10 wins and on the All Star team…

kappellmeister

July 6th, 2009
12:43 pm

And by the way, I know Escobar has made a bunch of bonehead plays this year, but is there personal friction between Yunel and Cox? Escobar – kid with passion or smart-mouthed brat?

jeffrey d

July 6th, 2009
12:46 pm

Why trade Vasquez? He is pitching well. Trade Lowe.

There’s some logic. “Let’s trade the guy who’s not pitching well. I’m sure we’ll have to beat the opposing GMs off with a stick.”

Blackberry Cobbler

July 6th, 2009
12:46 pm

Braves pitching can’t seem to win games anymore so we better try to out slug the other team. Neither Lowe or Vasquez are worth what they’re getting paid but we’re not likely to get anything better in return. Biggest need a big bat.

SimpleDawg

July 6th, 2009
12:48 pm

All of that hypothetical blather is just nonsense. None of those “deals” makes any sense for the Braves.

Why even propose such BS? Are you trying to foul up Escobar’s head more than it already is, further discourage Javier, or just screw up the team in general?

I realize we just lost 2 to the Nothingals, but that doesn’t mean we have to crap in our own nest.

Here’s a good idea….trade Mike “Rockin’” Gonzalez to anyone for anybody. All of those antics of his wear real thin, really quickly. He’s the reincarnation of Mitch “Wild Thing” Williams….”like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get” and most of the time it makes you just want to spit.

Often times, the trade you don’t make is the best deal of all….even Forrest knows the Braves have made too many stupid trades during the past 3-4 years.

Bryan G.

July 6th, 2009
12:49 pm

I just think the Braves need to play out this year and try to find a bat in the offseason. Finding a bat this year is probably the difference in making a run at the wildcard. Finding a bat in the offseason could be the difference in winning the division or not.

Just stand pat for 2009 and shoot to have the bats to make it in 2010.

Chief Nock A Homa

July 6th, 2009
12:49 pm

Keep Vasquez – he’s been as consistent as anyone could ask, just the recipient of no run support…

How about floating Lowe’s name out there and seeing what we can get???

He never has been a number 1 anyway…. We could get rid of the bloated salary, and (theoretically) move Hudson in…

Wouldn’t we get more value for Lowe????

Anybody???

Chief Nock A Homa

July 6th, 2009
12:51 pm

Jeffrey d….

Don’t you think most GM’s know that Lowe is a pretty good pitcher over the course of a year???

Daniel

July 6th, 2009
12:52 pm

W. If the Brewers would trade Fielder for Vasquez then we would have made that move within two seconds. Nice idea, but not going to happen.

BravesAreDone

July 6th, 2009
12:52 pm

Trading either of these players is a terrible idea. Why do the Braves always try to make STUPID trades at the deadline just to make one. It’s ridiculous.

Mark Bradley

July 6th, 2009
12:53 pm

Lowe makes more money and is older. Vazquez is the more desirable acquisition, if we’re talking trade.

Daniel

July 6th, 2009
12:54 pm

Chief Nockahoma-
Lowe’s contract makes him fairly untradable at this point in the season, that is why Vasquez has more market value. I do agree that people are overreacting to a handful of substandard starts. He is going to be fine. Javy is doing very well also, but in reality you have to trade something of value to get something of value. This isn’t the NBA where expiring contracts are as valuable as players.

Mark Bradley

July 6th, 2009
12:54 pm

Even though I suggested Vazquez-for-Dunn, I don’t know that Washington would be a perfect fit for Vazquez. (See how easy suggestions are?) The Nationals don’t have a lot, but they do have young pitchers.

Daniel

July 6th, 2009
12:55 pm

MB- stop stealing my thunder, man. What you think this is your blog or something? oh wait….

Mark Bradley

July 6th, 2009
12:55 pm

And I’ll say it again: I believe trading Yunel Escobar would be a mistake.

Daniel

July 6th, 2009
12:56 pm

BTW MB- care to comment on the Bucholtz idea?

Daniel

July 6th, 2009
12:57 pm

also, do the Braves want to pick up Dunn’s contract?

wawel78

July 6th, 2009
12:57 pm

Doesn’t Lowe make 16 Mil/Yr? No one is trading for him right now. Vazquez has been my favorite pitcher this year other than Hanson. I would hate to see him leave but it probably makes financial sense. However, none of the scenarios above seem to make sense for Atlanta.

I can’t imagine Wren would replace a RF .247/5 hr for one that is hitting .263/3 HR. I still think Franceour is a viable option as long as he is hitting around the 7-8 spot in the order.

Given the fact Escobar makes about $400k and he’s possibly the 3rd or 4th best hitter on the team, I don’t think he’s going anywhere.

It’s probably sac-relig to say it around here but I would be talking to contenders about Chipper if it were possible to get him to waive the 10/5 clause he has.

Kentavo

July 6th, 2009
12:58 pm

W, “give him some Ridlin’”?
Like the Riddler? Riddle me this Bobby Cox.
Uh, you mean Ritalin.

Mark Bradley

July 6th, 2009
1:00 pm

I like Clay Buchholz, Daniel. Everybody in baseball does. But do you trade for a young pitcher when you’ve actually got a pitching surplus and a hitting deficit? Long term the move would be fine, but I still think Frank Wren is looking shorter-term. He’s not giving up on this season unless the Braves lose every game for the next two weeks, and perhaps not even then.

TRobb

July 6th, 2009
1:02 pm

Buster Olney did a pitiful job with those “proposed” deals. I don’t think Escobar is going anywhere, not at that salary and talent level, despite the obvious issues.

“Give the Braves flexibility”…. more flexibility? More average to above average multi-position players? We already have Infante and Prado and I’m sure KJ steps into the Prado role now…

If we make a deal it’s gonna be a big one, not an incremental upgrade or a rearranging-the-deck-chairs deal (Frenchy for Hart? Teahen? Come on…). Vazquez will be the one leaving because he’s a bonafide, playoff-chase ready horse and somebody’s gonna bite. The guy I’d like to get is Matt Kemp from the Dodgers, but that might be too bitter a pill for them to swallow.

I could also see moving Gonzalez or Soriano as an auxiliary piece, but the guy we get back has to be a 30-100-100 guy, not a 16-70-70 guy.

Whether that thins our pitching out too much would remain to be seen. But if we’re going for it, pitching’s our long suit and that’s where we’ll have to deal from.

Mark Bradley

July 6th, 2009
1:02 pm

I know Lance Berkman’s name keeps coming up here — Adrian Gonzalez’s, too — but the Astros are famous for never giving up on a season. (They’ve made a number of big second-half runs, including one last season.) And Berkman’s essentially the franchise there.

As for Gonzalez: He doesn’t make much money and is a pillar in San Diego. I don’t think he’s going anyplace.

Mark Bradley

July 6th, 2009
1:04 pm

Speaking of Gonzalez: What’s up with Mike Gonzalez? Almost blew Game 1 and Game 3 against Philadelphia, helped blow Game 2 in Washington.