Reasons the Atlanta Braves Struck out at the Trade Deadline

Daniel Kock@@dannykockContributor IIIAugust 3, 2012

Reasons the Atlanta Braves Struck out at the Trade Deadline

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    The Atlanta Braves searched for an ace to strengthen their starting rotation at the MLB trade deadline and failed to make it happen.

    The Braves will say publicly they are content with their moves at the deadline, but fans should be disappointed.

    Did they improve the team for the last two months? Sure.

    Did they do enough to put them over the top? Doubtful.

    And that is why the Braves struck out at the deadline.

1. No Ace

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    It was no secret that the Braves' major need at the trade deadline was a front-line starting pitcher.

    The Braves have many good pitchers but don't have an ace they can give the ball to every five days and know you're going to get an elite outing.

    Zack Greinke was available for the Braves to grab. However, the Braves were hesitant to give up any of their top prospects despite having a surplus of young arms.

    A trade for Greinke most likely would have involved top prospect Julio Teheran. But Teheran has struggled this year in Triple-A and doesn't look like a sure thing anymore.

    Signing Greinke to a long-term deal would have been viable with Chipper Jones, Derek Lowe, Nate McClouth and Michael Bourn coming off the books.

    The Braves could still sign Greinke this offseason, but the Angels will now have the inside track.

    And the Braves still have a need for an ace to carry them during the stretch run and into the postseason.

2. Botched Dempster Deal

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    Personally, I was not a fan of the Randall Delgado for two months of Ryan Dempster trade.

    However, the Braves had agreed to the deal and saw enough in Dempster to pull the trigger on trading Delgado.

    The Braves wanted him, but Dempster did not want the Braves. Dempster blocked the trade with his no-trade clause.

    This makes the Braves look weak and foolish for not doing their homework.

    Either the Braves could not convince him to come to Atlanta, or they didn't study Dempster's personal wishes fully. Either scenario does not look good on the Braves' organization.

    You also have to factor in what this does to Delgado's confidence.

    He pitched outstandingly in his last outing, so possibly it serves as motivation for him.

    However, he will definitely doubt the organization's commitment to his future with the team.

3. Maholm Uncertainty

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    The Braves ended up acquiring left-handed pitcher Paul Maholm from the Chicago Cubs before the trade deadline Tuesday.

    Maholm has been lights out in his last six starts, posting a 1.02 ERA, and has had back-to-back solid seasons.

    The question mark surrounding Maholm will be how he reacts in a playoff race.

    Maholm has spent his entire career playing for terrible teams—Pittsburgh and the Cubs. The most wins he's been a part of in the MLB is just 72 games.

    He hasn't smelled a postseason.

    The pressure of a playoff race and possible postseason is something he will have to adjust to and is worth monitoring in his first outings.

4. Loss of Arodys Vizcaino

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    It's disappointing thay the Braves are giving up on Arodys Vizcaino.

    Vizcaino underwent Tommy John surgery and is out for the entire season. He got to pitch in a Braves uniform just 17 games.

    Vizcaino throws 95 with ease, has a swing-and-miss breaking ball and is developing a changeup.

    His stuff is outstanding, and his potential is through the roof. He could develop into the closer for the Cubs and looked to be a good candidate to be the setup man for closer Craig Kimbrel for years in the Braves' bullpen.

    Vizcaino has worked as a starter in the minors, and his future could also be in the starting rotation.

    No matter where he ends up, Vizcaino has major league stuff, and it is disappointing for the Braves to lose him.

5. What to Do with Kris Medlen

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    Kris Medlen's season can be described in one word—limbo.

    The right-hander started in the bullpen, went to the minors to become a starter, came back as a reliever and is now in the current rotation.

    Through all the changes, Medlen has pitched remarkably well in posting a 2.43 ERA in almost 60 innings pitched.

    With Tommy Hanson on the DL, Medlen will at least be in the rotation for a few weeks.

    However, once Hanson comes back, it will most likely mean Medlen will be destined for the bullpen once again.

    Medlen's value is greatest in the rotation and that will be postponed with the addition of Maholm at the deadline.