By Jim Pratt
Editor’s note: Earlier this week BravesWire writer, Jim Pratt, proposed the first of three trades he says the Braves should consider. See part-1 here.
Sometimes an MLB franchise can get blinded in their quest to build for the future and are unable to take advantage of the here and now opportunity called “rental” players. That unwillingness to break tendencies can sometimes cost a team a playoff berth. The past two World Series winners are perfect examples of what momentum heading into the playoffs can bring. Would Atlanta’s front office be willing to take the chance on a player they would eventually lose during the off-season for a better shot at a deep playoff run?
Remember, flags fly forever.
Deal #2) San Diego Padres: Zeke Spruill and an upside lower level prospect for OF Carlos Quentin
When a team is in the midst of a playoff race and the “rental” player is available he can be both advantageous and scary. A deadline deal for a Carlos Quentin type could give a team like Atlanta the spark needed to propel them on a World Series run. The scary part comes when talking about the cost of gambling on such a player.
This is exactly the type of strategy that would allow the Braves to keep both Jurrjens and Prado on the roster. It could also allow them to trade one or both of those players for a potential replacement at third base for Chipper Jones or impending free agent centerfielder Michael Bourn.
Although health is always a risk when discussing Carlos Quentin, he would be the ideal power bat to extend the Braves lineup. In a 118 games last season he hit .254/.340/.499 with 24 HR, 77 RBI and a career high 31 doubles. He has hit 20+ HR in 4 consecutive seasons including 36 HR in 2008. Granted, those numbers come in limited playing time due to recurring injury trouble and the Braves would have to hope for a healthy second half of the season from Quentin.
Odds are against the San Diego Padres being playoff contenders in 2012, so flipping Quentin to help infuse their farm system with young talent seems the most logical decision. The concern is what the price tag for a deadline deal involving Quentin would be. More than likely the Padres would want more than they gave the Chicago White Sox this off-season when acquiring him, which was a mid-rotation starter that is on the verge of being a non-prospect and another player destined to be left-handed reliever.
The original trade proposal was pitcher Zeke Spruill and an upside lower level prospect for Quentin, but would they offer something like Sean Gilmartin and a Todd Cunningham type prospect if it that was the cost? Again, flags fly forever and the potential spark a risk/reward player like Quentin could give Atlanta in a playoff race might be worth sacrificing an upside arm, especially with that being the strength of the farm system.
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