3 Potential Deals Atlanta Braves Could Still Make Before Season Start
Due to the success and conditioning of third baseman Juan Francisco in the Dominican Winter League, there has been heavy speculation that the Braves brass might choose to go with the current roster for opening day.
At this point, I'd say it's 50-50. If the right deal presents itself, Atlanta will probably take it and bolster the lineup. Otherwise, Frank Wren will be content to hold off on making any deals until the trade deadline is nearer.
I've already written on some of the possible left field candidates for Atlanta here, and I'll write on my favorite candidate later this week, but this slideshow is specifically for the three most heavily rumored deals.
Can we just take a moment to appreciate the picture of Crisp in all his fiery glory?
When the Athletics traded for Chris Young, they got a 20-20 outfielder with a healthy walk rate and a terrific glove. He'll probably be given full-time at bats, and so will fellow outfielders Yoenis Cespedes and Josh Reddick.
That leaves Crisp as the odd man out.
Jason A. Churchill of ESPN writes of Crisp's situation and Atlanta's interest here, but the fact of the matter is that Crisp would fit very well in left field for the Braves.
Of the three most heavily rumored left field candidates for Atlanta, Crisp is my favorite. The speedster is signed to an affordable two-year, $14 million deal and would provide a solution to the leadoff spot as well as a good outfield glove.
If talks opened up, Atlanta would also have a shot to obtain the hard-hitting Grant Green to either play second base or left field for the Braves down the line.
I prefer Grady Sizemore, but the consensus says that Scott Hairston is the best free-agent left fielder remaining on the market.
By default, Atlanta is interested.
It's unclear how much Hairston is asking for, but Atlanta will definitely have the funds to purchase him.
A right-handed power hitter, Hairston would provide the pop the Braves are looking for but at the cost of a respectable on base percentage.
He's probably best suited in a platoon with Juan Francisco, but Atlanta is looking more for a full-time player with a healthier walk rate here, especially considering that the Braves just doled out a $75 million contract to someone with a .298 OBP.
When Arizona landed shortstop Didi Gregorius, many thought that Justin Upton would be pulled off the market.
Then the Diamondbacks went out and added Cody Ross to an outfield that already housed Upton, Jason Kubel, Adam Eaton and Gerardo Parra.
Naturally, the Braves have expressed "strong interest" in bringing the young outfielder with immense potential into Atlanta.
If Atlanta could financially maneuver itself into a position where it could bring aboard Upton's relatively affordable contract (which might mean cutting ties with Brian McCann, Tim Hudson, and Paul Maholm after this season), Frank Wren would be willing to part with a lot in order to put the younger Upton alongside the elder Upton in the Atlanta outfield.
Julio Teheran or Randall Delgado would be a starting point (if adding Teheran to the trade could be avoided, the idea becomes a lot sweeter), and prospects such as Nick Ahmed and Edward Salcedo would probably also be components.
Obviously Upton would make Atlanta one of the leading World Series contenders, but what must be considered is the extensions that Jason Heyward and Martin Prado are in line for.
If Atlanta is already a contender, would bringing Upton aboard at the expense of ensuring that Heyward and Prado are Braves for a very long time be worth it?
That's the crux of the matter.