The Atlanta Braves could stand to add a competent hitter to their bench, and they are running out of time to do so.
The non-waiver trade deadline came and went with July, but the Braves will have until the end of August to negotiate a trade for players who have cleared waivers. Of course, that limits their targets and essentially guarantees the Braves would have to take on a poor contract—otherwise the player(s) wouldn't have cleared waivers.
With the best record in baseball at 74-47, however, the Braves should feel comfortable making postseason plans. And this places an emphasis on a "win now" philosophy.
When a team feels it is on the precipice of a serious run at the World Series, making a bold, risky move becomes a more acceptable cost of business.
In this instance, adding a slugger who can come off the bench appears to be on Atlanta's wish list.
Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal passed along that the Braves would indeed like to add a bat, and more specifically, "a legitimate power threat."
Making this need even more pressing is the fact that the recently called-up Tyler Pastornicky has a torn ACL and will be on the shelf for at least the remainder of the season.
Pastornicky's absence is not the end of the world. The 23-year-old second baseman's presence with the big club didn't become necessary until Dan Uggla opted to have Lasik surgery. He cannot return to action any sooner than Aug. 28.
This means Paul Janish is now likely headed for second until Uggla returns. Janish helped fill in at shortstop last year for the Braves during the stretch run, and he will ensure Atlanta's defense does not suffer any drop-off.
However, he isn't going to help out much on offense, and as Mark Bowman of MLBlogs.com tells us, the Braves are looking for another infielder as a result.
Barring something dramatically unforeseen, Uggla will be back before long, and perhaps the surgery will help him improve upon his .186 average. Still, the Braves continue to look for other options, and I certainly don't blame them.
They just need to do so with some caution.
Atlanta is not offensively starved. The Braves posted the third-best batting average in July and are currently 15th in August. Furthermore, they were eighth in home runs in July and occupy that same ranking this month.
Sure, they could stand to solidify their offensive depth, but to land an experienced player with the ability to upgrade the Braves' offensive situation would mean they'd have to either take on a bad deal or overwhelm a team with prospects.
At this point, the Braves must be looking for someone they feel they could confidently call upon during the postseason to come off the bench and deliver a big hit. Anyone talented enough to inspire that kind of confidence is going to be pricey at this point. And the Braves are too complete of a team to take that risk.
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