• Feature

    Braves pursuing a right-handed bat. But who?

    The Atlanta Braves currently rest atop the NL Wild Card standings and are within spitting distance of the first place Phillies in the NL East. Considering the offensive struggles of lead actors like Dan Uggla and Jason Heyward, they’re in a pretty darn good place.  But that won’t stop Braves’ GM, Frank Wren, from taking action to improve Atlanta’s postseason odds.  And rumor has it that Atlanta may be close to acquiring a right handed bat.

    But just a word of warning… Those of you hoping to see Matt Kemp in a Braves uniform had better brush up on your Photoshop skills.  You can safely rule out any/all blockbuster deals at the deadline.

    Having said that… Carlos Beltran is not out of the question, and he’s certainly a marquee name.  But Beltran-to-Atlanta is improbable. Frank Wren has an unwavering track record of jealously guarding Atlanta’s top prospects.  The names Mets’ GM, Omar Manaya, would likely bring up in any Beltran trade conversations would almost assuredly make for a short phone call. There is one possible exception, and that’s the Braves’ AAA lefty, Mike Minor.

    Minor is ready for the big leagues right now, but there’s simply no place for him in this Atlanta rotation at present.  And when Derek Lowe is wearing another uniform next year, the Braves’ top overall prospect, Julio Teheran, will take his place. In short, it’s hard to imagine Minor cracking a healthy Atlanta rotation this year or next.  As such, Minor’s greatest value to this team can be defined as his worth on the trade market. If Minor’s stock is high enough to serve as the centerpiece of a deal for a Carlos Beltran or a Hunter Pence, then there’s a good chance he could be moved by month’s end, in my opinion. Though of course, the Braves won’t give him away. And if Houston or the Mets demand a higher price for their respective all-star outfielders, the Braves will (and perhaps already have) lock aim on a slightly less ambitious target.

    Per MLBTradeRumors.com, Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports have suggested that the Braves are displaying interest in Cincinnati outfielder, Jonny Gomes.  Gomes isn’t as sexy as some of the names fans and bloggers have tossed around in recent weeks (Beltran, Pence, Michael Bourn, etc.), but he would seemingly be a very nice fit in Atlanta. He has displayed 20-homerun power throughout his career and Gomes, a right-handed batter, hits lefties well. And the latter part of that equation addresses one of the Braves’ most critical needs. Gomes is strictly a corner outfielder. He cannot play Center Field, which would be his greatest shortcoming from Atlanta’s perspective. Nevertheless, he could help this team a great deal.

    Will it be Jonny Gomes, one of the aforementioned bigger names… or someone none of us have even thought of yet?  Only time will tell. Frank Wren has a penchant for the unexpected.