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  • Trade Talk: The Atlanta Braves

    1st of a series

    Buyers or Sellers
    They sure aren’t selling. The Braves only real competition in the NL East is the Washington Nationals, over whom they hold a 6.5 game lead. But they’re unlikely to take that lead for granted. Last year they won 94 games – and got knocked out in the one-game Wild Card playoff. The year before they collapsed down the stretch, losing eight of their last ten games (including their last five), finishing one game out of the playoffs. This is not a franchise (or fan base) that is going to feel like they’re all set.

    What They Need
    Which is a little weird, because they’re just about all set, as the Twins learned when they were swept by them earlier this year. The Braves starting pitching ranks 2nd in the NL in ERA. Their offense ranks 4th in runs, but they’re that “low” because their big free agent acquisition, BJ Upton, has just a 594 OPS. That isn’t going to last.

    However, there have been multiple reports of the Braves evaluating others teams' relievers. That’s a little odd, because Craig Kimbrel has been fantastic as their closer. However, they lost two left-handed setup men, Eric O’Flaherty and Tommy Venters, to Tommy John surgery in the same week in May. That’s left Luis Avilan, whose numbers look good, but 18K in 33 IP don’t inspire confidence. Neither do the 13 walks that go with them.

    What Might Work
    Last year at the deadline, and indeed in the offseason, there were lots of rumors about the Braves and Twins talking about a deal. That was because the Braves needed a center fielder (which they filled by signing BJ Upton) and some right-handed power (which they fixed by trading for his brother Justin).

    However, the Twins have three effective left-handers in their bullpen right now. Caleb Thielbar is unproven, but has been deadly against lefties. Brian Duensing represents a more senior option who would still not require a king’s ransom. And Glen Perkins would give the Braves the best lefty-righty combo to close games in Major League Baseball. As the Braves evaluate relievers, they’ll certainly approach the Twins.

    Sleeper Targets
    Here are some names from down the prospect list who could conceivably interest the Twins in any non-Perkins deal:

    Jose Peraza – SS – Low A – 19 years old
    He’s skilled enough defensively to, project staying at shortstop, but he also showed some pop last year in Rookie League. This year, he’s only at .256/.317/.339, but he also just turned 19. He’s a guy the scouts often like: toolsy and projectable.

    Luis Merejo – LHP – Rookie League – 18 years old
    He dominated in the Gulf Coast Rookie League last year, striking out 53 in 41 innings. He’s back there this year, but he could make his way up to A ball and there is some thought he could move fast.

    Cody Martin – RHP – AAA – 23 years old
    Martin wasn’t on any Top 10 Braves list because he’s a command-control pitcher. But this year he’s posting a 2.45 ERA between AA & AAA and has 95 K in 88 IP (and just 74 hits). And those rates are not out of line with his numbers every other year. Don’t forget – Atlanta is the organization from which the Twins plucked Scott Diamond.

    Dream Target
    Mauricio Cabrera – RHP – Low A – 19 years old
    The Braves top two remaining pitching prospects, JD Graham and Sean Gilmartin, are both on the shelf right now with injuries. So let’s look for a bigger arm a bit further down the ladder.

    Baseball Prospectus described Cabrera’s arm as “ridiculous” with a fastball that can work in the mid to high 90s. He needs to develop secondary pitches and command, though he has the makings of a slider right now that could be very good. If he progresses, he could be a top of the rotation arm. If not, he could still be a dominant reliever.

    If he were to be part of a package, there could be lot of excitement about the future of the Twins rotation with him joining Kohl Stewart and JO Berrios in the lower minor leagues.

    Each day in July, we’ll be publishing a profile of a MLB and whether there is any possible fit for a trade with the Twins. Tomorrow: The Washington Nationals
    This article was originally published in blog: Trade Talk: The Atlanta Braves started by John Bonnes
    Comments 33 Comments
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Not terribly excited about the SS you have listed, but those pitching prospects all look nice.
    1. johnnydakota's Avatar
      johnnydakota -
      Cleveland and Boston are better fits, with better prospect returns .
      As for trading Perkins for A ball players, that is not an option .
      If traded ,we need to get AA or better prospects.

      Cleveland has AA shortstop Ronny Rodriquez and RHP Danny Salazar.
      Boston has the # 3 prospect at SS in Bogaerts, but we could build a package for him and a couple others,Think Justin, Trevor and Glen Perkins plus a couple 10-20 ranked prospects
      for Middlebrook,Allen Webster,and Bogaerts
    1. AScheib50's Avatar
      AScheib50 -
      Would you trade Sano for that package you mentioned? Cuz that's what you are asking Boston to do for Bogaerts. That kid looks like a stud. Not a lot of value going to Bos and plenty coming back.
    1. Kwak's Avatar
      Kwak -
      Trade Perkins for low-level minor leaguers? Seems like at cross-purposes to present policy of signing a few "value-veterans" to add a few more wins while rebuilding the team. I am convinced if that trade were consummated the Twins would repeat their 2011 disaster: late July to end-of-season collapse.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Quote Originally Posted by Kwak View Post
      Trade Perkins for low-level minor leaguers? Seems like at cross-purposes to present policy of signing a few "value-veterans" to add a few more wins while rebuilding the team. I am convinced if that trade were consummated the Twins would repeat their 2011 disaster: late July to end-of-season collapse.
      Who cares if they have a 2011 style collapse? Do you honestly think they are contenders now?

      The Twins are not in a "right now" mode. They are building for the future. If they trade off a few of those "value-veterans" to aquire additional pieces for their next run and end up drafting a bit higher next year, great. They aren't going to win anything this year, so letting some rookies play every day and seeing a few more ticks in the L column is hardly devestating.
    1. jimbo92107's Avatar
      jimbo92107 -
      Mauricio Cabrera is the only one that's even mildly interesting. Twins have guys just like those others strewn throughout their system.
    1. PeanutsFromHeaven's Avatar
      PeanutsFromHeaven -
      Nice start to a really interesting series. Would you say there's any replacement level player or young minor leaguer/ex-prospect who might be blocked or squeezed out of the Braves system (Please tell me Brandon Beachy or Omar Poveda is a total pipe dream either in terms availability or return to prominence)
    1. Kwak's Avatar
      Kwak -
      Quote Originally Posted by diehardtwinsfan View Post
      Who cares if they have a 2011 style collapse? Do you honestly think they are contenders now?

      The Twins are not in a "right now" mode. They are building for the future. If they trade off a few of those "value-veterans" to aquire additional pieces for their next run and end up drafting a bit higher next year, great. They aren't going to win anything this year, so letting some rookies play every day and seeing a few more ticks in the L column is hardly devestating.
      Which begs the question--why bother to win at all? They signed Willingham, Carroll, Marquis, Doumit, Correira, Pelfrey, to win--what meaningless games? Maybe to avoid the appearance of trying to lose in order to select sooner in the draft and cut budget. Or perhaps it really was to put a better team on the field and not repeat 2011 (which is my opinion)?
    1. Joe A. Preusser's Avatar
      Joe A. Preusser -
      I've said it already, but it MUST take a "Meyer or better" pitching prospect or a MLB ready SS that can hit and play good defense ~Elvis Andrus as a rookie, etc. Anything else and we'd be much better off keeping Glen, much better off.
    1. Joe A. Preusser's Avatar
      Joe A. Preusser -
      Quote Originally Posted by diehardtwinsfan View Post
      Who cares if they have a 2011 style collapse? Do you honestly think they are contenders now?

      The Twins are not in a "right now" mode. They are building for the future. If they trade off a few of those "value-veterans" to aquire additional pieces for their next run and end up drafting a bit higher next year, great. They aren't going to win anything this year, so letting some rookies play every day and seeing a few more ticks in the L column is hardly devestating.
      All valid points, but why don't you think that Perkins can be part of that next wave?

      He's cheap.
      He's a hometown guy.
      He's signed for 3 more years.
      He's really good.

      Unless we are offered the farm, he looks like a nice building piece to me.
    1. iastfan112's Avatar
      iastfan112 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Joe A. Preusser View Post
      All valid points, but why don't you think that Perkins can be part of that next wave?

      He's cheap.
      He's a hometown guy.
      He's signed for 3 more years.
      He's really good.

      Unless we are offered the farm, he looks like a nice building piece to me.
      Don't think the prospect has to be quite Alex Meyer level(even if he's dominant Perkins effects less innings then Span) but you are right, there's a number of reasons he's worth holding onto if a good return isn't there. That said, the compelling reason for trading Perkins is that he's at peak value. He's over 30 and in the middle of what will probably be a career year and is closing effectively. One only needs to look at Willingham to see how his trade value could be significantly reduced in a years time.
    1. Riverbrian's Avatar
      Riverbrian -
      July 1... 6 games out... We all seem to feel that the Twins are not contenders and maybe rightly so...

      However... It's July 1 and the Twins are 6 games out. It's not out of the question... That the Twins could be much closer by the all star break. Single A players won't help much if that happens.
    1. Winston Smith's Avatar
      Winston Smith -
      6 games out? Right now the Tigers and Indians are on pace to win 87-88 games. For the Twins to win 88 games they must go 52-32 the rest of the way a .620 clip. Going from having the 8 th worst record to the best. What have you seen out of this team to make you think that could happen?
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      I get the Boston talk, but I wouldn't deal for Beantown specs. It may be an unfair bias, but their specs seem to always underperform their hype.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Quote Originally Posted by Joe A. Preusser View Post
      All valid points, but why don't you think that Perkins can be part of that next wave?

      He's cheap.
      He's a hometown guy.
      He's signed for 3 more years.
      He's really good.

      Unless we are offered the farm, he looks like a nice building piece to me.
      I didn't say he couldn't. You can read my comments in the trade thread for Perkins where I say I wouldn't do it unless he got a nice return.

      I do think that closers tend to be overrated, so trading one at what would be his peak value isn't necessarily a bad idea either.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Quote Originally Posted by Kwak View Post
      Which begs the question--why bother to win at all? They signed Willingham, Carroll, Marquis, Doumit, Correira, Pelfrey, to win--what meaningless games? Maybe to avoid the appearance of trying to lose in order to select sooner in the draft and cut budget. Or perhaps it really was to put a better team on the field and not repeat 2011 (which is my opinion)?
      Whatever their intent after 2011 and 2012 to sign those guys, the bottom line is that it hasn't worked. This team may only be 6 teams back, but there is nothing that indicates that it's capable of playing at the level needed to pass 3 other teams much less advance into the playoffs if by chance they made it... That makes you a seller... Period. The future looks very bright for this team. If they can use the present to augement it a bit, give valuable development time to rookies, and draft a bit higher next year, you do it.
    1. SwainZag's Avatar
      SwainZag -
      Quote Originally Posted by Kwak View Post
      Which begs the question--why bother to win at all? They signed Willingham, Carroll, Marquis, Doumit, Correira, Pelfrey, to win--what meaningless games? Maybe to avoid the appearance of trying to lose in order to select sooner in the draft and cut budget. Or perhaps it really was to put a better team on the field and not repeat 2011 (which is my opinion)?
      Yes, you sign players to win games, but come on a good GM knows if their team is good enough to compete or not. While I am happy with what level the team is playing out this year, they are no where near a team that is ready to compete. All of those guys you listed were guys brought in to fill holes for now or serve as place markers for others until they get here.

      Do you think the Twins really brought in Correia and Pelfrey this year to push them over the hump to win it all? No, they brought them in because they were fairly cheap usable options that will fill holes, and might have future value if they play their cards right. Most teams aren't the Yankees, Dodgers and BoSox where they can just decide on a whim they want to go for it this year.
    1. SgtSchmidt11's Avatar
      SgtSchmidt11 -
      Frankly I don't think anybody is going to be able to match what the Twins want. I think that the Twins should only sell Perkins for a massive overpay like Bogaerts. However I massively doubt that will happen. The only option I would be disappointed with is trading Perkins for nothing less than a projectable future impact player.
    1. Riverbrian's Avatar
      Riverbrian -
      Quote Originally Posted by Winston Smith View Post
      6 games out? Right now the Tigers and Indians are on pace to win 87-88 games. For the Twins to win 88 games they must go 52-32 the rest of the way a .620 clip. Going from having the 8 th worst record to the best. What have you seen out of this team to make you think that could happen?
      I'm not saying that I think it will happen... Just saying that its not out of the question.

      What have I seen out of this team??? Pretty much sub par play out of the offense and Starting Pitching and still only 6 games out in spite of that.

      What if you take the "sub" out of sub par with just a little improved play going forward.

      What if hitters like Willingham, Morneau, and Doumit just start hitting to their personal averages or Parm and Hicks start settling in and just simply contribute.

      Teams go on hot and cold streaks all the time. One real good hot streak and we are right there and we really haven't seen a hot streak out of some pretty key players and yet we are only 6 games out.

      It ain't out of the question. In my opinion. I'm not betting on it but I've seen it before.
    1. snepp's Avatar
      snepp -
      Quote Originally Posted by diehardtwinsfan View Post
      Who cares if they have a 2011 style collapse?

      I do. Losing sucks and I'm already sick of going into full apathy mode by the middle of August.
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