• Exclusives

    3 Trades Braves Should Consider: Trade #1

    By Jim Pratt

    As the February 20 report date for pitchers and catchers approaches, trade rumors surrounding RHP Jair Jurrjens and LF/3B Martin Prado seem to have slowed to a halt. During previous trade talks, Jurrjens has garnered the most attention from other clubs while Atlanta Braves GM, Frank Wren, has focused on acquiring an outfield bat, preferably one with some power.

    Getting full value for both players has proved difficult considering Jurrjens is returning from injury and Prado is coming off a down season, offensively.  With value in mind, Wren has been reluctant to pull the trigger on any deal.

    Waiting until late June or early July to re-test the trade market seems like the ideal strategy for a couple reasons. First, it would allow Jurrjens about 15 starts to prove his right knee is healthy again. Prior to the injury last season, he was 12-3 and led the National League with a 1.87 ERA. If he could post numbers similar to that, his trade value would increase significantly.

    Rookie RHP Julio Teheran could replace Jair Jurrjens if he is traded.

    Waiting for the MLB Trade Deadline period would also allow the coveted arms of Julio Teheran and Randall Delgado more time to develop at AAA Gwinnett. Both highly touted prospects would benefit from some early season innings in the minors to refine their command.

    Teams interested in Martin Prado haven’t been willing to meet Atlanta’s asking price, so it seems he has more value to the Braves on the field than in a trade. With that said, he does not provide the offensive production needed from the left field position. A super utility role that gets Prado 400+ AB’s would fit his skill set better. To do that Atlanta will eventually need to find a trade partner for Jurrjens that nets them an outfield bat without the inclusion of Prado. Avoiding arbitration by signing Prado to a $4.75 million contract for 2012 could be an indication Frank Wren is leaning in that direction.

    Over the next few days, we’ll look at several deals that might interest the Braves in their pursuit of more offensive production. Take note that these trade scenarios speak more to the specific players involved in a deal and are less about the possible lower level prospects that sometimes clinch trades between teams.

    Deal #1) Toronto Blue Jays: Jair Jurrjens for Travis Snider and a prospect

    Since taking over the Toronto Blue Jays general manager reigns in 2009, Alex Anthopoulos has never been one to sit on his hands when he has a chance to upgrade a weakness on his roster. That weak spot right now is starting pitching; after Ricky Romero and Brandon Morrow there isn’t much else the Blue Jays can count on to contend in the tough AL East.

    Toronto Blue Jays OF Travis Snider

    The Blue Jays go six deep in quality MLB outfielders, including RF Jose Bautista, CF Colby Rasmus and a current LF platoon of Travis Snider and Eric Thames. The strengths and weakness of both teams would seem to line up for a deal to be made.

    Travis Snider has the pedigree that the Braves are looking for in a left fielder. A former #6 prospect in the 2009 Baseball America Top 100 overall, Snider was projected as a player that could hit for average with plus power to all fields. Along with some nagging injuries early in his career, being shuttled from the Minors to the Majors as prevented him from having a real opportunity to be a regular at the big league level.

    Snider had 25 HR and 40 doubles in 612 AB’s prior to last season when he was demoted after only 95 plate appearances for the Blue Jays. He was promoted back to Toronto in early July after he hit .333 for AAA Las Vegas. Within his first 13 games of rejoining the MLB club, Snider had two games with 5 RBI and was hitting .357 with 2 HR, 9 doubles and 17 RBI. Only spending a month with Blue Jays, he was demoted again in August after his early hot streak turned cold. Off to another hot start at AAA Las Vegas, Snider’s season was over after he was diagnosed with wrist tendinitis at the end of August.

    As a member of the Braves, Snider would be given a full time job without the worries of being demoted after the slumps that come with a 162 game schedule. Getting him out of the American League East and into the National League in general would also factor into a probable bump in production. A full season projection would look something like a .255 AVG, 20-25 HR and 85+ RBI.

    A couple prospects the Braves would be interested in to even out the deal would likely be LHP Justin Nicolino and RHP Aaron Sanchez. It’s unlikely the Blue Jays would add a close to the Majors pitcher in Kyle Drabek or toolsy centerfield prospects Anthony Goseand Jake Marisnickunless the Braves up the ante from their side.

    We’ll discuss another viable trade tomorrow, which could give the Braves the extra RH power they need.

    P.S. Before you go, check out the Lineup Card on the BravesWire homepage with headlines from over a dozen Braves news/opinion sources.

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