I don’t like trading pitching, but I’d swap Mike Minor for Beltran

BRAVES nlds5 ra5

October 2004: Carlos Beltran homers yet again; Jaret Wright surrenders. (AP photo)

The Braves have cause to beware the prospect(s)-for-rental-player trade. They’ve been burned twice this century: Once in December 2003, when they shipped Jason Marquis and Adam Wainwright to St. Louis for a year’s worth of J.D. Drew, and again in July 2007 when they sent the entire farm system — OK, not really — to Texas for 364 days of Mark Teixeira’s services.

And now, another trade deadline close at hand, we here have reason to ponder the merits of another rumored young-for-old swap. The Mets are looking to divest themselves of Carlos Beltran, who will become a free agent at season’s  end. (And if you’re thinking the Braves might have a chance to keep Beltran longer-term, forget it. His agent, as was the case with Drew and Teixeira, is Scott Boras.)

Owing to money problems from Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, the Mets have money problems. They’re not looking for big names. They’re in need  of cheap young arms. The Braves have ‘em. It has been reported that the Mets dispatched a scout to watch Mike Minor work for Gwinnett against Louisville on Thursday. (Might not have been the best night to catch him: Six innings, 10 hits, six runs, three earned.)

We ask: Two months plus postseason of Beltran against the next five years of Minor — would you do it?

I would.

As a rule, I hate trading young pitchers. (Mention the names of John Smoltz and Jair Jurrjens to a Tigers fan.) I would under no circumstances — if the Rangers offered Josh Hamilton I might rethink, but only then — part with Julio Teheran or Arodys Vizcaino, and I’m on record as saying I wouldn’t swap Brandon Beachy for Carlos Quentin, the White Sox outfielder who can become a free agent after next season.

But Minor-for-Beltran I’d do, for two reasons. First, Beltran plays center field, which means he’d fill an immediate need. (Quentin is a corner outfielder.) Second, I’m not crazy about Minor.

When the Braves drafted him in Round 1 out of Vanderbilt in 2009, the ESPN analyst Keith Law suggested they’d erred. But not every guy you pick in Round 1 has to wind up in your rotation to have value: If Minor can be turned into Beltran and Beltran hits the winning home run in Game 7 of the World Series, this will go down as the greatest Braves’ No. 1 pick since Chipper Jones.

In two-plus years in the organization, Minor has done well. But he’s not in the majors, and those who justified drafting him did so in the belief he was already close to being big-league ready. He has been lapped by Beachy, who wasn’t drafted at all, and will soon be passed by Teheran. And if Beachy vis-a-vis Minor had been a close call, the Braves would have erred on the side of the lefthander, seeing as how their rotation lacks one. But it’s not close.

Minor isn’t another Wainwright, who clearly projected as a No. 1 starter. Minor might top out as a No. 4 man. He’s the kind of good-but-not-great prospect who’s made to go in a deadline deal. He is, to dip into Braves’ history, a Melvin Nieves.

Melvin Nieves was a promising outfielder in a stacked farm system who became the key name in the Fred McGriff trade of July 1993. The Padres wanted Ryan Klesko, who was the prospect of the moment, but the Braves wouldn’t bite. (Nor was John Schuerholz moved to part with Chipper or Javy Lopez or even Mike Kelly or Tony Tarasco. Like I said: Stacked farm system) They held out and got the guy they needed at the price they wanted.

Mike Minor for Carlos Beltran: What say you?

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The parallel isn’t exact — McGriff didn’t become a free agent until after the Braves won the World Series in 1995, and they had enough money back then to keep him — but it’s close enough. The Braves were good but not good enough in July 1993. (With no wild card back then, they had to catch San Francisco. They did.) Good as these Braves are, they might be one bat short of winning the World Series.

If the Braves don’t land Beltran, they might have to face him in October: The Phillies, Giants and Red Sox are all believed to have similar interest.  The Braves saw him in postseason once before. He hit four home runs, three at Turner Field, against them as a rent-an-Astro in 2004. He signed with the Mets for Joe Johnson money that winter.

The Braves helped make Beltran a rich man. If he helps make the Braves a world champ, we’ll call it even.

By Mark Bradley

313 comments Add your comment

beone

July 24th, 2011
3:34 pm

Josh

July 24th, 2011
3:35 pm

good stuff Mark. Hopefully Wren pulls this deal off, it really could put the braves over the top and win it all.

beone

July 24th, 2011
3:35 pm

AND YES, I read the entire article. I find the “you know what” childish.

Mark Bradley

July 24th, 2011
3:38 pm

I know what, beone. I’ll spare you the … well, you know.

topdawg

July 24th, 2011
3:39 pm

Trade McLouth and Minor for Beltran and a AA or AAA left handed arm who is a decent prospect. Pay McLouth’s salary and let the Mets pay Beltrans salary. What could be more even? And, after the season the Braves would be done with Mc and his salary and still have a prospect.

The Real Brave

July 24th, 2011
3:42 pm

Pull the trigger, please!!

Outside Observer

July 24th, 2011
3:43 pm

I’m very skeptical of trading for a rental. You mentioned the Tex trade that saw us trade a lot for a little. JD Drew was even worse. These young pitchers are the future of the organization. Like most other Boras players, we can’t stay in a bidding war to keep Hanson and Jurrjens for the majority of their careers. I would prefer to trade one of them for a top player we can keep around for a few years than giving away the future for a short term rental.

ryan

July 24th, 2011
3:45 pm

I have heard from a couple experts from Buster Onley and Bill Shanks that this trade is not happening Frank Wren just not willing to give up the young pitching arms .

Josh

July 24th, 2011
3:45 pm

Totally agree with your assessment of Minor, Mark. Only question, is Beltran good enough? Or is there anyone out there better? Would the Rays shed BJ Upton for Minor? And would that be a better deal? Basically, do you think Beltran is the most legitimate right handed bat we could get for Minor?

longtimefan

July 24th, 2011
3:46 pm

How much better will Beltran possibly be than the two options we already have? Will those extra few homers and hits for 2 months and hopefully in the postseason be worth years of salary controlled left handed starting pitching? I don’t think so. Lowe is gone after next year. Hudson the year after. Vizcaino is probably bound for the bullpen unless he develops a major league effective third pitch. Injures happen to starting pitching, you can never have enough.

slydog

July 24th, 2011
3:49 pm

The Braves need to stop tip toeing and go after Matt Kemp or Hunter Pence. They are out there to be had. If they want Minor, Delgado and/or Tehran, so be it. Win the World Series and possibly contend for a few more years. What good is all that pitching when we virtually have all of our best hitters in the majors right now? This is the same strategy that has us stuck in the mud since 95′. The Braves have an excellent scouting staff and farm system. It’s called belief

Josh

July 24th, 2011
3:50 pm

But longtimefan, I want to win a World Series now… not just have decent starting pitching for the next few years. I do understand the sentiment of wanting to keep good pitchers… that’s totally reasonable. But when we have a surplus, as we do now, and we have a team that could go deep into the playoffs maybe even win a championship with another helpful bat… dont you have to go for that? I’m just tired of the Braves being nearly good enough. Lets go win one, ya know?

AUGuY

July 24th, 2011
3:51 pm

ryan

July 24th, 2011
3:51 pm

BJ Upton would not mind getting little younger more athletic but does have some baggage what about Coby Rassmus .

all for one.....

July 24th, 2011
3:54 pm

please GM Wren, Beltran probably gets hurt and doesn’t play for us anyway. Keep Mike Minor and all the rest. To heck with the Mets.

Vino Fino

July 24th, 2011
3:57 pm

I like it, but don’t love it. If it’s truly a straight up Minor for Beltran deal (hard to believe the Mets aren’t asking for more), you almost have to do it. But my concerns are:

1) The Braves need to be spending more energy / trade leverage going after some right handed bullpen help. The pitching has been pretty rough since the last game before the break. Could be that they’ve just come up against a run a good offenses in mostly hitters ballparks. But could be a sign that the staff is starting to wear down. If I see Proctor come in again to put gas on a fire, I’m going to set myself on fire!!! He obviously can’t be on the team much longer (my guess is they cut him tomorrow), but there doesn’t appear to be a lot of major league ready help at Gwinett.

2) No way the Braves resign Beltran. That to me lessens the value of any deal like this.

3) Beltran is OLD (by baseball standards) and WORN OUT. What happens if he breaks down a week after the Braves acquire him? Then you’ve lost a prospect for absolutely nothing. Plus, when you have to reference 7 years ago as a reason to fear the guy, it probably begs the question- What have you don’t latley? Seems like not much.

I could go on, but…

STH

July 24th, 2011
3:58 pm

You cant wash off that Met stinch, let this one go but shop Minor for another proven CF.

Vino Fino

July 24th, 2011
3:59 pm

“done lately”

Nova Scotia Steve

July 24th, 2011
3:59 pm

This deal should go down. I’d be surprised if it doesn’t.

Considering Ken Rosenthal reported yesterday that several Braves veterans have expressed a desire for the team to acquire Beltran.

Hopefully Frank Wren was listening and I’m sure he is/was. I trust and have faith in the entire Braves organization!

It a step above many, if not all, other.

Milt Famey

July 24th, 2011
4:04 pm

MB, I disagree. Minor may turn out to be a great pitcher. If you look at Tom Glavine’s first 3 full seasons, he had losing seasons in 2 of those and ERA over 4.00. In the other year, he was 14-12. The next 3 seasons (91-93) he was a 20-game winner. Minor may develop into such a pitcher. He has a lot of skills, including the mental toughness to succeed.

"Chef" Tim Dix

July 24th, 2011
4:06 pm

Might even throw in the catcher in Rome if necessary to make it happen.

We need a bat.

But ONLY if it is a last resort.

[...] A Minor for Beltran deal has been rumored and I’d love to see the young southpaw pitch most of his games in Citi Field. [...]

extremus

July 24th, 2011
4:06 pm

Mr. Bradley,

A simple question: Do you think the Braves could get MORE long-term value for Minor and/or another piece or two than the two months or so Beltran MAY provide if he stays healthy (and doesn’t have an Uggla-like “slow start” in Atlanta)? If so, then is it worth the risk to hold out for that “something more”?

Yes, the Braves are buyers…but they also have a BUNCH of solid pitching (some of which simply have no immediately foreseeable place in the rotation or bullpen at the MLB level) that if they’re smart they can use as GREAT leverage to pry other significant needs away from pitching-needy teams (of which there are MANY). I’d LOVE to see them win the World Series this year, but giving up Minor is a big gamble if there’s ANY chance that he could bring MORE in return. The Braves, from what I’ve read on a few different sites/blogs, seem to agree with my assessment; the Mets would almost have to throw in something extra to make the deal work, NOT the other way around.

Mark Bradley

July 24th, 2011
4:07 pm

Minor might turn out to be a great pitcher. But that’s the risk you take.

Just Me

July 24th, 2011
4:07 pm

Braves have to do something. We were shelled bad last night. The Braves just don’t have a chance to out score other teams if the pitching is giving up hits.

"Chef" Tim Dix

July 24th, 2011
4:08 pm

BTW, just don’t see it in Minor’s eyes like I do in Beachy.

But what do I know?

skiingdawg

July 24th, 2011
4:08 pm

I have followed the Braves since they originally came to Atlanta. Minor is our only left-handed SP that is close to being ready for the majors. I do not see GM Wren trading him for a short-term rental player, unless it is part of a larger deal to net us: (1) a prospect at OF or 3B; or, (2) a solid relief pitcher. FWIW: I would not trade one of our top three right handed starting pitchers (Teheran, Delgado, or Vizcaino). I expect Mr. Wren to really think mortgaging our future starting pitching versus a short-term rental player.

In terms of where we stand dollar wise. Salaries to KK ($7,336,667; FA in 2012); Nate McLouth ($7,000,000 in 2011; $1,250,000 buyout for 2012); Alex Gonzalez ($2,500,000. in 2011; FA after this year) and Scott Linebrink (net $2,000,000 in 2011) will expire at the end of 2011 (total $18,836,667) leaving room for a major FA acquisition for 2012; even after raises to JJ, Prado; Hanson; and a new contract for B.Mac.

Milt Famey

July 24th, 2011
4:08 pm

Beltran would be a PURE RENTAL. His contract precludes being offered arbitration at season’s end which means there will be no draft picks to the team unlucky enough to hold the contract at year’s end.

luvthosedawgs68

July 24th, 2011
4:09 pm

I hear both arguments, and I usually hate to make trades to acquire rentals, But i do believe that this opportunity may be too good to pass up. Especially if Minor is the one being traded. I believe the Braves should go for it!!!

Just Me

July 24th, 2011
4:09 pm

The Braves have to do something. We can’t out hit other teams if our pitching isn’t great. We have to get some bats.

Milt Famey

July 24th, 2011
4:09 pm

For that much rent, I would rather have Bourne or Upton who would be with us next year also and bring compensation picks when they leave.

"Chef" Tim Dix

July 24th, 2011
4:10 pm

With a bat in the wings, I don’t make the move. Clearly in the off season the kid’s value increases.

"Chef" Tim Dix

July 24th, 2011
4:13 pm

A legit bat takes a great deal of pressure off of our 7,8,9 bullpen proven.

"Chef" Tim Dix

July 24th, 2011
4:14 pm

Upton, Upton, Upton….WHY?

Jack in Macon

July 24th, 2011
4:15 pm

I understand Beltran’s batting avg. is not very good from the right side; so not sure we’ll be gaining much. I do think Minor is another Jo Jo Reyes; maybe a little better, but will never amount to much.

I think our biggest need is pitching help in the bullpen more than anything.

I know the Braves will never do this, for many reasons such as money, but a bold move would be to put Lowe (if they can’t trade him and dump his salary) in the bullpen and bring up first Minor, if he doesn’t work out in two starts, switch to Teheran. If this doesn’t work out we can always bring Lowe back into the rotation.

country boy

July 24th, 2011
4:15 pm

Wasn’t Mike Minor a FIRST ROUND draft choice just a couple of years ago? Is the Braves scouting/drafting so bad that we trade the first player we take in a once a year draft that lasts about 100 rounds for an older, ailing 2 month stinking rental? Let’s hope Wren is smart enough to just be blowing smoke about this trade in order to have to make the Phillies pay more for Beltran. Minor may develop.

skiingdawg

July 24th, 2011
4:17 pm

Let me throw a new name into the mix: Chris Heisey (26 yrs old) – LF at Cincinnati. I’ve been watching him this summer – fairly solid player. Might be worth trading Beachy.

Tim L.

July 24th, 2011
4:18 pm

I’d rather see us get Marlon Byrd from the Cubs. He’s signed through 2012.

Kenshin Kawakami

July 24th, 2011
4:18 pm

Trade me, Jackson, Mississippi is no Atlanta or even Birmingham. Surely the Mets will take me.

bravos007

July 24th, 2011
4:19 pm

@Mark Bradley- absolutely disagree. minor is the only lefty starter we have. looking at our recent pitching, we might need him sooner than later. we’ve been down this road before and it simply doesn’t work out.

JC Boscan III

July 24th, 2011
4:20 pm

IF the Braves can acquire Beltran for Minor, it would be nice for the Mets to include an good A or AA prospect in return for one of the Braves’ mid-rank AAA prospects who might be more major-league ready for the Mets in 2012. We seem to have no interest in our own AAA outfielder Stefan Gartrell, for example.

But, even if Wren pulls this off, he should ALSO try to acquire the “hits lefties” corner outfielder to platoon with Heyward, who is hitting .169 against lefties this year. It’s going to be quite difficult to hide that bad of an average against good or mediocre lefties during the stretch run and playoffs! It’s just disturbing to have a key component of our lineup be THIS weak if the opponents shoves a lefty out onto the mound!!! Schafer, McLouth and Hinske are terrible vs. lefties, too, which magnifies the problem. A platoon guy like this could also be the pinch-hitter to send up against lefties late in the game. It can be someone as uninspiring as Gomes, SINCE Gomes crushes lefty pitching, and would only be needed for those situations IF we also acquire Beltran.

Then, for a 3rd and final step, find that additional reliever to reduce the load on O’Ventrell, and the Braves will be a much tougher team to beat from here until late October. He doesn’t have to be great —– just more reliable than Proctor! …Then, if Moylan also returns and pitches well, there is no longer a problem with the back-end of our bullpen smelling like a back-end of a farm animal…..

Nova Scotia Steve

July 24th, 2011
4:20 pm

I don’t understand some of the opinions on here. Isn’t the goal is WIN THE WORLD SERIES.

Or is the goal simply to make the play-offs???

I’ve been a Braves fan for 17 years. I feel privileged the team I follow is competitive almost every year…that is an excellent goal to have as an organization but ultimately the goal is and should be to WIN THE WORLD SERIES.

The Braves have some great young talent and will be competitive for years to come…but I think this could be a special year for the Braves. Why not take the chance and go for it…instead of waiting 3 years to see IF a pitcher might turn into a 3 or 4 rotation guy.

This hee’ing and haw’ing Braves fans put out eveyr year when the front office tries to make the team better for the stretch run makes me sick.

Remember Beltran goes to the Red Sox, Giants, Phillies or Rangers we will have to get past almost all of those teams in the playoffs. Can’t wait to see the reaction on here should Philly land Carlos.

That would be entertaining.

bravos007

July 24th, 2011
4:21 pm

let me get this straight- the braves groom Minor for years then trade him to the Mets where we would face him 18 times a season in the Eastern Division. All this for 70 games with an injury-proned 34yo outfielder? NO THANKS

Mark Bradley

July 24th, 2011
4:21 pm

The aim is to lose in the first round, Nova Scotia.

I’m kidding!

Lowcountry Bulldawg

July 24th, 2011
4:21 pm

Great arguments Bradley on why you make the move. I think you can’t not make the move out of fear of screwing up again. Beltran is raking it and would fit nicely into the lineup in the three hole especially.
BJ Upton is hitting .232 folks. Where is this crush on Upton coming from? The Braves need to make the move.

I hate the Mets

July 24th, 2011
4:21 pm

While the allure of Beltran is there is he is a sMET, And the only person that could have a worse Smet’s scent is of course Jose Reyes. Like the others my concern is the pitching. The guys in the rotation havent looked good… lets hope its Cinncy and Denver.

bravos007

July 24th, 2011
4:22 pm

this team is looking like the Wild Card might be a challenge too. They are 5-4 since the break and are in the bottom 3 of major league pitching since the break. maybe trading our future for Beltran isn’t the answer after all.

Nova Scotia Steve

July 24th, 2011
4:25 pm

BTW Minor had a 5.35 ERA IN 15 MLB games and his ERA is over 3.00 in AAA.

IMO he’s a middle to back end starter in the MLB at best. I don’t think he’s anywhere near that status as of yet.

Everyone thought he was a lock to be our 5th starter this season…and where is he??? You don’t even hear much about him for the G-Braves so its not like he’s exactly lights out down there.

Nathan

July 24th, 2011
4:26 pm

Mark Bradley there just one thing i would to for beltran to play any field postion if someone one was injured a need at CF we already have our now and future in Jordan Schafer.

country boy

July 24th, 2011
4:26 pm

Nova Scotia Steve – I would like to see the Braves win the World Series EVERY year not just this year. thanks.