Busy afternoon, eh? Colby Rasmus, often listed as a Braves’ target, has been traded to Toronto for Edwin Jackson, who’d just been traded from the White Sox and is now a Cardinal. ESPN is reporting that Carlos Beltran, listed as a target for every decent team, is all but ticketed for San Francisco.
And the Braves themselves? Well, they just bought catcher Wil Nieves from Milwaukee. For cash.
About Nieves: He’s 33. He’d made the Brewers’ opening day roster but got sent to Class AAA after hittting .140 in the bigs. He then hit .170 for Nashville. Which means he might wind up batting cleanup tomorrow night at Turner Field.
OK, I exaggerate. Actually, the Braves will send Nieves to Gwinnett. But this is getting grim.
Today the Braves placed both Brian McCann and Jordan Schafer on the disabled list, and Chipper Jones is again available only to pinch-hit. Tonight’s outfield: Martin Prado in left, Nate McLouth in center, Wilkin Ramirez (summoned to take Schafer’s roster spot) in right. Jason Heyward isn’t starting because the Pirates are throwing lefthander Paul Maholm.
Nieves is cheap insurance in case David Ross and/or J.C. Boscan can’t catch every inning these next two or three weeks. And there now seems little doubt that Frank Wren will indeed make some sort of big(ger) move before Sunday’s deadline. This roster in July 2011 is starting to bear the look of last season’s team in October, which isn’t what you’d want.
There’s a buzz around the clubhouse as we speak, and it’s not just because of the 19-inning game only recently concluded on a terrible call. All the Braves aren’t even here yet, manager Fredi Gonzalez having told them they didn’t need to report until 5:30 p.m. (Usual time is before 4.) Nobody’s taking batting practice. A few guys are playing catch. Everybody else on hand is sitting around wondering what can happen next.
Stay tuned, won’t you? Back soon.
By Mark Bradley