McCann’s on the DL. Do the Braves HAVE to land a big bat?

Rule of thumb: It's never a good thing when your best player gets hurt. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Rule of thumb: It's never good when your best player gets hurt. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

OK, so they probably shouldn’t run out and hire Johnny Bench. He retired in 1983. But the game that wouldn’t end — and by rights should have kept going — could well influence what the Braves do the rest of the week.

The trade deadline is Sunday. Brian McCann, the Braves’ MVP, will miss the next two or three weeks with a strained oblique. (By the way, there’s a move afoot to change the team nickname to the “Obliques.” Why is it no other club seems to have such trouble with that particular body part?) He’s the biggest bat on a team that has no other big bats.

It has been reported by ESPN’s Buster Olney that the Braves have said no to the Mets’ insistence that any trade for the two-month rental Carlos Beltran would have to include one of the organization’s four top pitching prospects — Julio Teheran, Arodys Vizcaino, Mike Minor, Randall Delgado. Does this injury change Frank Wren’s thinking?

On the plus side, the Braves still lead the wild-card chase by 3 1/2 games over Arizona. On the minus, they’re only 6-6 since the All-Star break and they’ve slipped six games behind the Phillies in the National League East. And they’re still not hitting much: They’ve scored five runs in 28 innings against the Pirates, and one of those came by way of umpire Jerry Meals’ sense of charity.

The Braves can get by for a bit with David Ross as the everyday catcher. He’s a good No. 2. But it’s becoming less clear if they can win a World Series with this batting order, and with the batting order having suffered another loss it’s no longer a given that this club will make it to October. I think it will. (The Braves can still pitch, even if the team ERA has taken a hit in recent days.) But current events do not fill me with the same sense of certainty I had two weeks ago.

By Mark Bradley

558 comments Add your comment

ROLL TIDE!

July 27th, 2011
10:01 am

FIRST!

Just like Coach Saban & THE TIDE!!!

ROLL TIDE!

July 27th, 2011
10:03 am

I won’t say the Braves cheated and got away with one last night (i.e. this morning), but Coach “Cheater” Chizik was reportedly awfully proud of that home plate umpire.

extremus

July 27th, 2011
10:03 am

This is copied from my post on Jeff Schultz’s thread:

The Braves’ announcers talked about how the Pirates’ writers had told them how frustrating it was to watch the Pirates sometimes as far as getting runs home. Hmm, I think we Braves fans can relate. Last night we all got the answer to the age-old question: “What happens when an immovable object goes up against ANOTHER immovable object?”.

We could use a pick-up on offense, no question.

Nick P

July 27th, 2011
10:04 am

Regarding the oblique issue, Mark, which I’ve noticed for a few years now, I wonder if our team does any “core” training. Strong core helps with the swing and durability.

Mark Bradley

July 27th, 2011
10:05 am

Kudos, Roll Tide

Chi Town

July 27th, 2011
10:05 am

ROLL TIDE!

July 27th, 2011
10:06 am

We will miss Brian McCann the next couple weeks.

Aside from his potent bat, who doesn’t love to see chubby kids run the bases?

Oh, by the way: Buster Olney & ESPN Blow.
MLB Network all the way!

Michael

July 27th, 2011
10:07 am

Team ERA recovered some last night. Stellar performance by Martinez. I would think that adding a bat is a foregone conclusion at this point. I just hope this injury doesn’t lead the team into giving away too much in order to get that bat in a time of desperation.

ABTCurt

July 27th, 2011
10:11 am

Maybe some of the trainers from the Thrashers are still in town. Seems like everyone of their goalies had core issues. Call them now.

Curious George

July 27th, 2011
10:12 am

Would that umpire have still called Lugo safe at home if he had NOT had dinner at The Varsity before standing (& squatting) for 7 consecutive hours to call the game?

Roll Tide!!

July 27th, 2011
10:14 am

4th!!!

just like Alabama in the SEC West

DawginLex

July 27th, 2011
10:15 am

9th!!!

Just like Florida in the SEC overall standings in 2011!!!!!!!!!!

Joey

July 27th, 2011
10:15 am

Big bat was needed back in May. Yes, Yes, a thousand times yes……trouble is there may not be a “big” bat available besides Beltran.

DawginLex

July 27th, 2011
10:16 am

Threeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The headcount on DUI’s this week in Columbia on the football team!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dr. Phil

July 27th, 2011
10:16 am

I certainly have no faith that Wren will make a good move.

Matt

July 27th, 2011
10:16 am

They have to get once bullpen guy and a guy to play center field. The Phillies and Giants and Reds will crush the current Braves Lineup in the playoffs. Frank Wren can no longer blow smoke up our butt that this team is good enough to win it all.

Brian

July 27th, 2011
10:17 am

Mark,
Brian McCann is the catalyst for our team, not to mention our best hitters and team leader along with Chipper. Atlanta has clear needs heading into this weekend’s trade deadline. Our relief staff will probably need another arm behind our top three, however I have read reports Atlanta has promoted Viscaino to Triple A to work as a reliever a possible precursor for the rest of the season in the bigs. In a perfect world I would not add any offensive players to our team, the fact being our players play to their potential. Martin Prado is a very good player, however displayed last night his timing is off and he is not a pure lead off hitter. Jason Heyward clearly hasn’t proven himself in to a power bat and dependable hitter in just his second season. Chipper is great, with out a doubt in my mind, however injury plagued especially at this time. Uggla is coming around, however I am not sold he is able to carry the team on his bat when it counts most i.e. last night in many scoring opportunities after the first few innings of the game. Gonzalez is in a terrible slump, freeman is great, and we cannot count of McClouth especially when is not in our team’s future plans. The most significant fact of the matter is our team is still relatively as whole, inexperienced, and performing at dismal rates against left-handed pitching (remember Cliff Lee and Hamels are both lefties). Adding Beltran only makes sense to provide an additional bat, outfielder, plus he has the highest on base percentage in the league and has been money in playoff opportunities. We signed Erik Hinske for a veteran experienced bat, that called has worked out, we need to try it again to give our team a sustaining chance not only to make the playoffs but make a run. Our staff is strong, our prospects are stronger and deep, in my humble opinion giving up one prospect in Minor (not going to be a 1 starter) is Atlanta’s way of showing they care about their fans, the team, and the city.

DHD

July 27th, 2011
10:17 am

We don’t NEED another bat. Ross is a right handed hitter. I would rather have McCann, but since we don’t, Ross may be the right handed stick we need for the short term. We do NOT need Beltran for 2 months for one of our stud pitchers. I would put Lowe in the pen, bring up Minor for the rotation and Teheran for the pen, keeping innings off of him the rest of the way.

DawginLex

July 27th, 2011
10:17 am

there is no way I would trade one of those young pitchers for Beltran.

Ship Derek Lowe for another bat other than Beltran and bring Minor up permanently

Matt

July 27th, 2011
10:18 am

That’s rich Roll Tide……………..an Alabama fan calling out another team for cheating……

ArkyTech

July 27th, 2011
10:18 am

They key is getting healthy. Braves haven’t had Chipper, McCann, Prado, Heyward, and (the real) Uggla in the same lineup since April. The lineup is fine with everyone healthy. But, as we keep seeing, can’t seem to get everyone healthy.

Nateforpresident

July 27th, 2011
10:19 am

Why is Mike Minor considered Elite anyways? His Minor league stats are not that good and Brandon Beachy blows him away at the major league level. Even Derek Lowe is better than him right now.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

July 27th, 2011
10:21 am

After last night the trade value of Proctor,Martinez and Lugo may never be higher. I say package all 3 for Kemp. If the Dodgers insist on Lowe then I think Wrenn has to give in to the Dodgers demands for Lowe. Just sayin…

joe

July 27th, 2011
10:23 am

Would love a long term deal with Hunter Pence…giving up Minor for him would work…

PMC

July 27th, 2011
10:23 am

They don’t really have to. The goal obviously is the wild card. They’ll make the playoffs and lose just like last year.

Nateforpresident

July 27th, 2011
10:24 am

Kerry Lightenburg got a bag of balls and a few bats in a trade, Proctor couldnt even get a return of a few Hott dogs. same with washed up Lugo. Martinez on the other hand is just as good as the big 3 in the bullpen.

PMC

July 27th, 2011
10:25 am

I’m not sure why people are so hung up on Minor though. Gilmartin is Mike Minor 2. I’d totally take 2 months of hopefully healthy Beltran.

Have you seen our Outfield?

Nateforpresident

July 27th, 2011
10:25 am

I would give houston anything they wanted for Pence and then sign him longterm, Sick of waiting on schafer to become something he might not ever be.

Casey

July 27th, 2011
10:28 am

Let’s just calm down for one minute, please. The Braves are 6 games behind the Phillies. We have 6 games left against them. Yes, it will hurt not having McCann for a couple of weeks. But, Ross is an excellent catcher who could start for almost any team in baseball. We have Chipper back. Yes, Prado is struggling, but how long do you think that will last? We have the best (or second best) pitching staff in baseball. We have a strong bench that will fill for theses injuries as they have all season. Just everyone get a grip.

Joe

July 27th, 2011
10:29 am

The ship is sinking, abandon ship!!!

Nateforpresident

July 27th, 2011
10:31 am

If the Braves win anything this year or even if they dont not enough can be said for how much Christian Martinez has done for this team when they needed him and even last year he was pretty good, not sure why he is not seen on the same level as Venters and Kimbrel.

Nateforpresident

July 27th, 2011
10:34 am

Starting Pitching means nothing without hitting. even with a full healthy lineup they still need to add a bat, Schafer and Nate are just plan not good enough and with heyward and prado slumping things arent looking to good right now.

bravos007

July 27th, 2011
10:34 am

@mark- this is getting funny with the AJC….no matter what happens each day….there is an article that suggests we trade a top pitching prospect for minor. i wonder what the new reason will be tomorrow. a little predictable at this point. no offense

Jeff

July 27th, 2011
10:35 am

I heard yesterday that Andre Eithier might be available. If that is true give up whatever it takes to get him.

DetroitBraves

July 27th, 2011
10:36 am

@Nateforpresident, Minor is considered elite because he was drafted in the first round. But he was drafted in the first round because the Braves knew he would sign at slot, not because he was elite. Most scouts had him, and still have him, pegged for a backend starter. That the Braves would build him up to be something more makes sense. That they themselves believe that he is something more does not. There’s always a chance you could be wrong but no one should be crying in their beer if he’s the one sent packing for a bat.

richie

July 27th, 2011
10:38 am

i say give houston whatever they want for pence as long as its not teheran or beachy and go get mike adams or jon rauche(? spelling) to solidify the middle innings in the pen. id like to get another righty bat as well for the bench. dump mcclouth and get a guy like ryan spilborghs or seth smith from colorado

Never Trade Young Pitching

July 27th, 2011
10:38 am

No! For two months of Carlos Beltran who’ll end up back in NY next year. Nobody, but nobody, EVER has enough pitching. Beltan looks good in comparison but if everybody else in the lineup isn’t clicking then you pitch around Beltran. Look at his splits against the Philly four. You build from within and while the farm system is there to serve the big league club you don’t get better by making Texira – Beltran type deals. How do you guys think that the Mets got to this point?

Fred McGriff type deals come along once in a generation and people forget that as exciting as that ‘93 year was the Phillies, yes the Phillies went to the WS that year instead of the 103 win Bravos. Put Minor and Viz in that bullpen in Sept (one should be up now and replace Proctor) and forget about giving the Mets a future starting pitcher.

Reality

July 27th, 2011
10:38 am

Sounds crazy, but the Braves should sell. This isn’t going to be the year. No need to trade the future for this season. Yes, we are 3.5 up in the WC standings. Fool’s gold though-they aren’t good enough to win it all-we all know it.

Trade as many players as you want to get the WC but you’ll probably just end up with another meaningless pennant atop the left field roof. How many players is that worth?

If you could get prospects for Lowe and a few others, do it.

Nateforpresident

July 27th, 2011
10:42 am

Who do the Braves see as their starting 5 next year anyways? JJ,Hudson,Hanson,Beachy and Lowe right? 2013? JJ,Hudson,Hanson,Beachy,Teheran 2014? JJ,Hanson,Beachy,Teheran,Delgado soo even if the Braves Keep Minor I really dont see where he fits in the plans for the future?

Sunshine Falcon

July 27th, 2011
10:43 am

I agree without BMac we need a bat badly.
Don’t give up Tehran or the top notch pitcher at Miss, but all other prospects should be, on the table.

Ryan Churchy

July 27th, 2011
10:43 am

With everybody healthy, they have better hitters than the SF Giants had last year when they won it all.

cajdawg

July 27th, 2011
10:44 am

This organization has obsession with pitching that will likely continue unabated. We lost game 7 of the ‘91 world series because we couldn’t score one f….g run. Twenty years later, we still don’t get it.

Reality

July 27th, 2011
10:44 am

I believe JJ and Hanson are Boras guys. They won’t be here for ever.

A Brave in Minnesota

July 27th, 2011
10:45 am

I find it funny how soooooo many people on here would rather not get a big bat in a trade for one of our stellar farm pitchers…….NOT ONE!! It shows how passionate you guys are about this team and how much you truly value our pitchers. Now, I am not saying this to sound sarcastic at all………but do you guys REALLY think we can make it to the playoffs with what we got right now?

I don’t wanna us get rid of a pitcher either for a two month rental bat, but are we in it to win now or next year?

DetroitBraves

July 27th, 2011
10:49 am

@Nateforpresident, I think you’re exactly right, except that I think Vizcaino ends up in the rotation and Delgado in the bullpen, but we’ll see. Minor provides depth, which is great, but depth is also from where you fill other holes. Plus keep in mind that Medlen should eventually be back and the Braves drafted Gilmartin this year, which is again an uninspiring pick, but one that was taken largely due to how close he is to being ML ready.

Nateforpresident

July 27th, 2011
10:51 am

We can and will make the playoffs we just wont win once we get there, even during the 90s with all those great teams we couldnt win in the playoffs.

bravos007

July 27th, 2011
10:53 am

per the braves brian is probably gone only 15 days. enough with the “trade it all or we are dead mentality” this team has always surprised us when the chips are down. at least Ross is a right-hander and an excellent catcher. let’s just say brian is getting a nice vacation to make him healthy for the rest of the season. think positive.

this dawg want hunt!!

July 27th, 2011
10:56 am

Braves need to sit tight and keep all of their young talent, and build for next year. Even if they make the playoffs, with this lineup and the inconsistency of the starting pitching since the break, they will get swept in the 1st round. One player will not help them win in the 1st round of the playoffs, and with the goofy ass manager they have, they will definately get outcoached in the playoffs.Dump Chipper’s huge salary, and then Lowe, and K.K., and they can afford to go out and buy a C.F.and another arm for the bullpen That is if Goofy doesn’t wear out Venters and Kimbrell,and E.O.before the end of this season. THe future looks very bright for the Braves with the exception of a few minor league bats they have in their everyday lineup. Bring in bigtime bat next year,and this team could go all the way.

Tidetown 4 Free suits

July 27th, 2011
10:58 am

Hey Roll tide. (Gene Chizik) is not the cheater. You better be worried about the suit scandal that is starting to break. Trent Richardson just gave his BCS jersey to this guy out of the goodness of his own heart? Why does the store owner have 2 National Championship rings, and sit in your suites. Go kill a tree in your trailer park , so you can feel better about life and 28-27

Braves11

July 27th, 2011
10:59 am

Ok Mr. Wren, the Braves need a bat. Go get Hunter Pence!! He would be more than a 2 month rental.