Atlanta Braves Trade Rumors: Players Braves Should Target Before Trade Deadline
It has been an interesting and exciting year in the NL East.
The five-time defending division champ Philadelphia Phillies have completely fallen apart and are in last place. The New York Mets, who no one expected much of, have had a solid first half behind R.A. Dickey and David Wright. The Washington Nationals, led by their starting rotation, had a fantastic first half and are in first place in the division when most people thought they were at least a year away.
In the midst of all of this, the Atlanta Braves are contending for the division and are four games back of the Nationals. They are a half game up on San Francisco, the Mets and St. Louis for the final wild card spot.
Many people expected that the Braves would compete this year, and they have certainly done that. Now, with the free agent deadline fast approaching, it is time for the teams that are in contention to make a move.
Here are some of the players that the Braves should be looking at to fill in the gaps in their roster.
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Marco Scutaro is 36 years old, and there is a good chance he won't be in the league that much longer. With that being said, he is better than anyone else that the Braves have.
Scutaro is hitting .277 with four home runs and 24 RBI. Those numbers aren't necessarily anything impressive. However, they aren't too shabby. He is also solid defensively.
He could help develop the young Andrelton Simmons, who is set to be the shortstop of the future for the Braves. Simmons is injured and is going to be out for a little while. Scutaro can help fill the void.
He won't be that expensive, either.
Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports has reported that the Colorado Rockies are willing to let Scutaro go, albeit at a high price. Just a slight improvement could be what the Braves need to put themselves solidly into the playoffs, and Scutaro can be that guy.
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Matt Garza isn't having the best of years, with a record of 4-7 and a 4.32 ERA. He still has a 1.20 WHIP and 86 strikeouts. Garza was one of the pitchers that led the Tampa Bay Rays to the World Series and into baseball relevance, and he does still have good stuff.
Teams know that Theo Epstein and the Cubs are going to be the biggest sellers before the trade deadline. They also know that because of Garza's down year, they can get him for a slightly lower price than they otherwise would have.
Buster Olney of ESPN has reported that Epstein is willing to trade Garza. He is still young, and teams know he has good talent.
Look for Atlanta to contact the Cubs and try to work something out.
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Zack Greinke is back to being his old self. He is 9-3 with a 3.32 ERA. He has a 1.23 WHIP and 111 strikeouts in 111 innings. Many people consider him to be the prized arm available this year.
Part of his value is that Greinke is still young and has Cy Young stuff. He would definitely be an upgrade for the Braves in a division where pitching is king.
The Brewers are six games out of the last Wild Card spot, but with their division being as tough as it is, they are going to be realistic about their chances this year. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that the Orioles and Braves are gunning for Greinke, though Brewers GM Doug Melvin says, via The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, that the Brew Crew is not currently having a dialogue with teams about the ace.
If the Braves are willing to give up some talent, and are willing to bid against the powers of the AL East, they will greatly improve their chances of winning the division.
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It is not every day that a player with the skill of Justin Upton is on the trading block at the trade deadline. But the Arizona Diamondbacks are listening to offers for their star outfielder, which is crazy.
Upton is not hitting anywhere near the level he was last year when he had 31 home runs and 88 RBIs, but he still has that ability. This year, he is hitting .273 with seven homers and 37 RBIs.
He is just 24, and has almost unlimited potential.
ESPN's Buster Olney speculated that the Braves could be interested in acquiring Upton from Arizona, and why wouldn't they be? They have the prospects and pieces that they would want.
Look for the Braves to try and get a trade done quickly with Arizona to try and keep other teams from getting into a bidding war.