MLB Trade Rumors: 4 Players the Braves Should Target at the Trade Deadline
Atlanta needs to make some moves at the deadline to take the next step in contending for a championship. Last year, the Braves collapsed and missed the playoffs and two years ago, they lost to the Giants in the NLDS.
To take that next step towards a championship, Atlanta needs to make a big move.
Here are four players who the Braves should target at the trade deadline.
Zack Greinke, Starting Pitcher, Milwaukee Brewers
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Let's start with the obvious.
The Brewers are struggling, Zack Greinke isn't. Greinke is 9-3 with a 3.32 ERA, and he could be a huge help to a Braves rotation in need of depth. According to Jon Heyman of CBS, the Braves could be major players in the Greinke sweepstakes.
Mike Minor and Randall Delgado are both struggling, and the Braves can't afford to go on much longer with both in their rotation. Ben Sheets is pitching in the minors, and, according to Tom Ley of Deadspin, he will start on Sunday.
However, in two rehab starts, Sheets has allowed a combined total of five runs in 11 innings, and he may not be quite ready for the majors.
As long as the Braves give away the right prospects, especially pitching prospects, they should be able to strike a deal for the Brewers ace. In the playoffs, the Braves would probably have Tim Hudson, Tommy Hanson, Zack Greinke and Jair Jurrjens in their rotation, and that rotation would be dominant.
It would take a lot to get Greinke, but to add depth to the rotation now and make the Braves playoff rotation dominant, I think it would be worth it.
Marco Scutaro, Shortstop, Colorado Rockies
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Marco Scutaro might not seem like a very intriguing option, but he could definitely help the Braves.
Andrelton Simmons is hurt and probably won't return for a few weeks, and the Braves need to fill the void at shortstop. Jack Wilson and Tyler Pastornicky are trying to hold down the fort, but the Braves would definitely benefit from adding another shortstop.
According to Jon Morosi of FOXSports.com, the Rockies are willing to deal Scutaro. While the Braves would probably have to give up two prospects, it would be worth it. Simmons is inexperienced and would benefit from having a veteran platoon with him for the second half of the 2012 season. After the season, Scutaro will become a free agent.
Scutaro is hitting .277 this year, and he would be able to mentor Simmons during the team's playoff run. Since Scutaro will become a free agent after the season ends, Simmons will start and take full control of the shortstop position next season.
Even though Scutaro will be a rental, he will help the Braves. Simmons is new to the pressure of the playoffs and Scutaro has been there. It will definitely help Simmons to have Scutaro mentor him and play in his absence, so trading a couple prospects for Scutaro wouldn't hurt.
Ryan Cook, Relief Pitcher, Oakland A's
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Atlanta already has a great closer in Craig Kimbrel, but they need a great setup man.
If the Braves can't land Greinke, they should go after a relief pitcher. Ryan Cook has been dominant for the A's this year, and he could be on the trade block. Cook has a 1.41 ERA and a WHIP of 0.89 and in the All-Star game, he struck out two batters and threw a scoreless seventh inning.
Oakland is in third place in the AL West with a 43-43 record. The Rangers and Angels seem to be much stronger teams, and I doubt the A's will win the division. They aren't too far out of the Wild Card race, but there are stronger teams than them in the race. The A's will be sellers, and they will be shopping players.
Expect the A's to shop Cook at the deadline. If the Braves can land Cook, they will have a great setup man and a great closer. They may benefit more from adding a starting pitcher, but Cook would be a nice addition to the bullpen.
Brandon McCarthy, Oakland A's
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Atlanta should go after Zack Greinke, but if he ends up being dealt to another team, they should pursue Brandon McCarthy.
McCarthy is currently on the 15-day DL, but he will return soon. The Athletics' ace is 6-3 with a 2.54 ERA, and before he went on the DL, he had won six straight decisions. McCarthy doesn't walk batters often, and while he doesn't strike many batters out, he does get batters out and get out of jams.
According to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com, the A's see themselves as sellers and they want McCarthy to pitch well when he returns from the DL so his trade value is increased. If he does that, Oakland will likely ask for a few prospects in return.
McCarthy will be a free agent this winter, but he may not be a rental. If the Braves have a good year, I bet McCarthy would be open to staying in Atlanta. Even if he signs elsewhere, he would provide depth in the Braves rotation for the remainder of 2012, which is something they sorely need.
However, if McCarthy does stay for the 2013 season, just imagine this rotation: Tim Hudson, Tommy Hanson, Brandon Beachy, Brandon McCarthy and Jair Jurrjens. That would have to be the best rotation in baseball, but it would only happen if the Braves traded for McCarthy (or Greinke).