Well, (as Ronald Reagan used to say) the trade deadline is just a few short days away, and not unlike spring training (except for fewer teams involved), most everyone is hoping their team is on the road to the playoffs, and with just one key move, will make it to the playoffs.
But are the Braves just one player away? The results on the field would say otherwise. The good news is, unlike many other teams, the bullpen issues could very well be resolved from within. Perhaps it’s easier said than done but if a couple of raw starters who throw 95-100 (we are told) can make the transition to pitching in the 7th or 8th, it would be good on so many levels: keeping the innings total down on their young arms; MLB experience in a pennant race; and not trading away prospects for a guy or two who could leave in the off-season.
So really, all we need is a hitter (or 3). No problem! Just trade the next Adam Wainwright away and grit your teeth every time he comes to town and beats our Atlanta Braves like a drum. But be sure to trade the uber stud away for a guy who will leave after one year! Enough about the upstairs homeboy’s worst trade next to Tex to the ATL. Let’s focus on this year.
I know some people here might believe in the WAR stats. I guess I am just a bit old-fashioned in that I don’t think you can truly put a number on how many games a guy can improve your team. I’m sure if you looked back to the trade of Fred McGriff some stat head would say he brought a WAR of 2 or 3 for those 2 + months. We all know he lit a fire under our offense, one we thought we would get from Teixera as well, but didn’t happen for some reason in 2007.
However, the 2011 Braves HAVE to add a bat. There isn’t a Braves fan alive (or dead) who doesn’t know that. Who though??? At the time that this short post is being written, there seem to be two big bats available: Carlos Quentin and Hunter Pence – and a just a notch below is Ryan Ludwick. (Remind me again, could we have gotten him for Jo-Jo Reyes a few years back, or someone else?) And really the more I dug into Ludwick’s numbers, his 62 RBI’s are really amazing, as the Padres offense is so putrid they make ours look decent. I think the next highest RBI guy on the Padres has 35! So, which one would make the biggest difference?
Carlos has the most power, and in a pitcher-friendly park. Plus Adam Dunn has had a year that no one could imagine, (.160 BA) so his relatively low .BA would likely go up coming over, though it’s been a few years since he’s been in the NL, so it may take a while for him to get back up to speed. Hunter Pence, who is now a Philly, has less power (at least this year) but having another .300 hitter in the middle of the lineup, with doubles power, would have been huge, IMO. Plus he’s a high energy guy, which would have fit in very nicely here.
Ludwick has a low BA this year (.238) but is no doubt feeling pressure to perform for a terrible team and, from a hitter’s standpoint, in a terrible park. He hit anywhere from .267 to .299 (in 2008) for the Cards. So, long story short (okay, a few paragraphs story) the adding of just one of those guys would take pressure off of Uggla, McCann, Freddie, everyone, and with one more guy clogging the bases, more high stress pitches on the pitchers on the other team.
And while typing this I find out Nate is going on the DL! Wonderful. Ok, Coco Crisp and Carlos? Can Heyward play center? Or is he too old?