Let’s get real, people

Asking why the Braves don’t trade for Shannon Stewart isn’t helping. They don’t need Shannon Stewart. He’s a good player, but he’s not any better than Ryan Langerhans. He’s just more expensive. To get a player who is much better than Langerhans, you’d have to pay not only a lot in talent but a lot in money, and that just isn’t going to happen. Most of the other names I’ve seen aren’t even as good as Langerhans has been since he finally got a chance to play semi-regularly.

The general problem is this. The Braves can’t make a deal to add more than a fairly marginal salary unless someone else takes a salary in return. That means Furcal or Kolb, because nobody will take Hampton and everyone else either makes nothing or is too important to the team.

Now, Furcal is a free agent after the season, and Kolb can be non-tendered after the season, so the only way that a deal would work would be to pick up someone whose contract doesn’t end after this season. But that would probably mean that the Braves would have to shed someone else’s contract after the season, someone they can’t easily replace like Andruw or Marcus. Schuerholz, rightly, isn’t going to do that for a player who isn’t a clear upgrade. And none of these outfielders is a clear upgrade on Langerhans.

So, if the Braves are going to make a move, it will be for a reliever, probably someone cheap. The only way they could pick up someone who makes real money would be if the other team took Kolb off our hands, meaning that the Braves would have to throw something else in to make up for it. So we’d be in a situation where we’d give up maybe three prospects to get one pitcher.

Furthermore, the Braves don’t actually have many prospects to trade right now. Everyone’s in the big leagues! The only top prospects left are Marte and Francoeur, who are probably untouchable, certainly to only get a reliever. Everyone else is either a marginal talent or down in A-Ball, and few teams are going to want to trade Major League talent for someone who is that far away from contributing.

That leaves Furcal. Now, I want him traded — look at the front page! — but that creates another problem. Furcal would only be attractive to a team that is in the race, and those teams aren’t likely to give up established pitchers. There aren’t enough of those to go around. So that means that the Braves would have to figure out a three-way deal — Furcal to a team with a good farm system, who would ship prospects to someone like the Pirates, who would ship a reliever to Atlanta.

The only other option I see is a problem-for-problem deal where the Braves pick up someone who is stinking up the joint, like Ted Lilly, for one of our guys who is stinking up the joint, like Kolb. I don’t see how that helps.

16 thoughts on “Let’s get real, people”

  1. I have to believe that Francoeur is in the Atlanta outfield at some point next year. So I don’t see the Braves trading for a starting outfielder this year. I agree with you Furcal makes the most sense to be traded Pete Orr may be able to go for some reliever.

    But the Braves do have Chuck James AA and Lerew AAA to bring up. And if all the starters come back and Sosa Colon and Davies go to bullpen will the Braves make any moves at all?

  2. Personally, the only players we can trade away is Furcal and Kolb, but I don’t think anybody will be stupid enough to pick up those two at this moment. I heard about the possibility of Betemit for Urbina (thank god that didn’t happen) before, but I don’t want to trade Betemit away because he will be our starting shortshop next season.
    Based on previous seasons experience, I doubt there will be any trade coming. The only reasonable senario is trading Furcal to the Twins for one of their relievers, but I think Furcal will have to prove he is healthy before that can happen. But then, if Furcal is healthy and playing well, why would we want to trade our leadoff man? So, our best hope is for Hudson, Hampton and Thomson return and moving Sosa, Colon and Davies to the bullpen. That will pretty much solve the bullpen problem. A bullpen of Reitsma, Brower, Boyer, Sosa, Colon, Foster and even Gryboski looks pretty solid for me.

  3. If we are to trade Furcal this season, his impending free agency requires that we can only trade him to a team that’s contending this season and who needs a shortstop. Our needs are 1) A right-handed hitting outfielder who doesn’t suck, and 2) Another bullpen arm, preferably a lefthander. The Twins are the only team that fits the description and, poring over their roster, I can only come up with this:

    Furcal for Lew Ford and Terry Mulholland

  4. I wonder if the Astros would trade Brad Lidge maybe Davies, Colon and McCann when/if the starters returm

  5. Lew Ford isn’t going to be traded. He’s too good.

    And Brad Lidge for Davies, Colon, McCann? He’s a closer. Do you realize how many closers fall apart/get injured? You don’t give up your future starting catcher, your best pitching prospect that’s “ready” and an intriguing arm for a guy who throw out his arm in his first game. Look at the Dodgers, who signed Gagne to some good money and now watch him sit on the bench.

  6. Is Ford really that good? He’s typically used as a DH, he’s 28 years old with only one full season in the bigs, and he looks like an 800 OPS guy to me — an older, right-handed Ryan Langerhans or Kelly Johnson. Depending on their organizational depth, he seems tradeable to me.

    In any case, it’s going to be very difficult to trade Furcal. Non-contenders have no reason to take him, and contenders are unlikely to give up anyone who’s contributing now.

  7. Which is why Mac’s suggestion of a three way deal involving a contender with prospects and a non-contender with useful bullpen help makes sense.

  8. I’m all for trading Furcal, who while he’s loaded with talent, continues to play both hurt and in an undisciplined manner (going for the long ball instead of singles, doubles, and walks). But as everyone points out, who’s going to give (and I do mean give since he isn’t playing well offensively this year) the Braves a reliever (or preferably a couple) for him when he’s just a rental? Obviously, the sweetest deal would be to package Furcal, Kolb, Bernaro, and Gryboski for Lidge or some other accomplished reliever and a couple of hard throwing bullpen pitchers. But that’s a pipedream that makes sense only to a Braves fan. The only time deals like that occur is when a team is willing to pay money for both those leaving and those arriving (like the Yankees do). But that’s not going to happen for the Braves.

    So, it seems to me that the only option if we want to fill our bullpen needs (and perhaps upgrade a corner outfield slot) is to part with value. And Furcal is not a value these days. Perhaps JC at Sabernomics has it about right–trade Giles (I know this seems harsh). But Giles is value. While this seems like a terrible idea, we have a glut of middle infielders (even after trading Green). We could put Betemit in at second, since Cox continues to play Furcal and perhaps load up the bullpen (and hopefully disembark Kolb and Bernero at least). Or, we could sit Furcal then and play Betemit at short and Orr at second (with him leading off since Bobby is of the school that lead off hitters must be fast). I don’t much like the idea of parting with Giles since I seem him getting stronger as the season goes on, but anybody trading with us is going to want value since we don’t have money these days…

  9. Try this on for size: Who needs a shortstop?
    An alternate way of looking at this is who might believe they could sign Furcal to a deal next year, someone who believes he’ll come back.
    That team is out there and will deal with us, if John can find them.
    I’d prefer a starter, please.

  10. I don’t know that Giles gets traded. I think that if that were a consideration, we would be seeing Pete Orr more than we are. He’s started once in the past week, IIRC… at a time that seemed logical to give Giles a day off (after an off-day before a very long stretch with none). Or we would see Betemit at second more than the one time (when he played the night before Urbina was traded for a 2B… not a coincidence, I’m sure). Something has to give in the offseason, so maybe then. It seems that either him, Andruw or Estrada will have to go for salary reasons. My best guess right now is that it will be Estrada since McCann is up and showing that he’s definitely ready to catch and quite possibly ready to hit. The way Andruw is playing now, that seems ridiculously unlikely. Giles is a possibility, I’m sure. But that’s the offseason anyway.

    The best bet with Furcal is to dump him for salary relief, if we could somehow get Minnesota or one of the Chicago teams to play along. The idea of Lohse coming back from Minn. doesn’t seem so bad, but I’d think that is by far the best case. But just dumping his salary would be good. Because right now, you’re looking at overpaying in terms of prospects for the pitching that is mostly needed since taking on salary isn’t really an option.

    The best bet with Kolb is to hope he somehow becomes a serviceable reliever for us. I don’t know how anything else can happen. Think about it? The guy can’t pitch in Atlanta. Even Rick Peterson doesn’t look at a guy failing miserably under Leo and think he can fix him. OK, well, maybe Peterson does, but I wouldn’t think many GMs do.

  11. I guess this is where I bring up the notion, as I do periodically, of trading Chipper. Hey, look, a windmill!

  12. He wouldn’t, so it won’t happen. But he could bring a lot in return, and we’re nearly done grooming his replacement. We seem to be in a pretty good position moving forward with the prospects we have, and I think he’ll be jamming us up fairly soon.

  13. I agree that trading Chipper would be a good idea. But we all know it’s not going to happen, unless the team suddenly turns into Kansas City or something.

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