Atlanta Braves

Atlanta Braves Offseason Tracker: Hottest Trade Rumors, Free Agency News

Rick WeinerFeatured ColumnistOctober 31, 2013

Atlanta Braves Offseason Tracker: Hottest Trade Rumors, Free Agency News

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    After winning the 12th National League East title in team history—the first since the team's record-setting run of 11 consecutive crowns ended in 2006—Atlanta's season came to an abrupt end at the hands of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS, who dispatched the Braves in four games.

    While much of the team's core remains under contract for at least another season, Atlanta will be faced with some difficult decisions regarding some long-time members of the team, most notably whether to re-sign catcher Brian McCann and starter Tim Hudson.

    You'll be able to find the most up-to-the-minute rumblings about the Braves along with analysis and everything else that comes with it right here. While the post date will always show as October 31, simply click to the next slide to see the latest as the Braves put together their roster for the 2014 season.

Atlanta's Own Free Agents

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    All the juicy rumors and analysis follow, but consider this your one-stop shop for all the comings and goings in Atlanta this winter, including the status of the team's own free agents.

     

    Braves Free Agents

    RHP Luis Ayala

    LHP Scott Downs

    RHP Freddy Garcia

    RHP Tim Hudson (Nov. 18: Signed a two-year, $23 million deal with the Giants)

    IF Paul Janish (Dec. 2: Non-tendered)

    IF Elliot Johnson (Dec 2: Non-tendered)

    OF Reed Johnson (Nov. 4: Team declined $1.6 million option)

    RHP Kameron Loe

    LHP Paul Maholm

    RHP Christhian Martinez (Dec. 2: Non-tendered)

    C Brian McCann (Nov. 23: Signed a five-year, $85 million deal with the Yankees)

    LHP Eric O'Flaherty

     

    Done Deals

    Dec. 13: Signed 1B/3B Mat Gamel to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training

    Dec. 16: Signed RHP Gavin Floyd to a one-year, $4 million deal; Can earn another $4.5 million in incentives

    Dec. 18: Acquired C/1B/OF Ryan Doumit from the Twins for LHP Sean Gilmartin (Analysis)

Dan Uggla: Trade Candidate

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    Update: Tuesday, Dec. 31 at 7:27 p.m. ET

    In what comes as a surprise to no one, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets that there has been no real interest from other teams in trading for Dan Uggla.

    As previously noted, the 34-year-old's burdensome contract, declining production and that he's a major defensive liability makes him a nearly immovable object.

    --End of Update--

     

    Update: Saturday, Dec. 7 at 1:15 p.m. ET

    Trying to find a trade partner interested in taking Dan Uggla off of his hands is sure to be one of GM Frank Wren's top priorities at the Winter Meetings in Orlando that kick off Monday.

    But don't count the New York Yankees among the possible destinations for the former All-Star, according to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman.

    Despite losing Robinson Cano in free agency and having the finances to absorb Uggla's contract, Heyman reports that the Yankees have no interest in Uggla and will look elsewhere to fill the void left by Cano's departure.

    --End of Update--

     

    Update: Saturday, Nov. 9 at 10:22 a.m. ET

    It's more speculation than anything else, but the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's David O'Brien believes that if Atlanta could find a team willing to pick up 25 percent of the $26 million left on Uggla's contract (roughly $6.5 million), that the Braves would eat the rest to facilitate a trade of the former All-Star.

    Clearly, team simply wants to be done with Uggla and, as O'Brien notes, would prefer to let Tyler Pastornicky and Tommy La Stella battle it out in Spring Training for the vacancy at second base.

    --End of Update--

     

    It comes as no surprise that the Braves are willing to entertain offers for second baseman Dan Uggla, as reported by MLB.com's Joe Frisaro.

    The three-time All-Star hit only .179 during the regular season and was left off of Atlanta's postseason roster, signaling that his three-year stint with the Braves may be over. 

    Frisaro says that the Braves will move the 34-year-old if they can find a team that is willing to pick up $6 million of the $26 million that he's owed through the end of 2015, something that's easier said than done.

    Not only has Uggla regressed at the plate, but advanced metrics rate him as the worst defensive second baseman in the game today, with a minus-7.1 UZR/150 and minus-19 DRS, according to FanGraphs.

    Aside from Miami, who Frisaro mentions as a possible destination for Uggla, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution says that the Braves have interest in swapping Uggla for Cincinnati's Brandon Phillips, though O'Brien adds that Atlanta would likely need to include a top prospect to pique the Reds interest.

Wilson Betemit: Atlanta Interested in a Reunion

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Thursday, Dec. 19 at 11:32 p.m. ET

    The Braves are interested in signing former prospect Wilson Betemit, according to a report by CSN Baltimore's Rich Dubroff.

    Betemit, 32, who was limited to only 10 at-bats with the Orioles in 2013 due to injury, hit .261 with 31 extra-base hits (12 home runs) and a .744 OPS in just under 350 at-bats with Baltimore in 2012. The switch-hitting utility player spent the first four years of his career as a Brave, hitting .281 with a .744 OPS.

    While he's incredibly versatile, Betemit isn't particularly adept at fielding any position. Were he to sign with the Braves, he'd likely serve as a super utility player, Chris Johnson's primary backup at third base and a pinch-hitter off of the bench.

Dec. 18: Acquired C/1B/OF Ryan Doumit

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Age: 32

    Bats: S

    2013 Stats: .247/.314/.396, 14 HR, 55 RBI, 1-for-1 SB

    Contract Status: One year, $3.5 million remaining

     

    While not the big name that many Braves fans had hoped to see the team acquire this winter, Ryan Doumit will prove to be a solid addition to Atlanta's 25-man roster.

    Versatile enough to catch, play first base and either corner outfield spot—though his defense is mediocre at best—Doumit gives the Braves options.

    Historically better at the plate against right-handers than southpaws, Doumit reversed that trend last season, hitting .290 with a .753 OPS against lefties while struggling against right-handers, hitting .229 with a .692 OPS.

    With neither Evan Gattis nor Gerald Laird performing particularly well against left-handed pitching, Doumit could see time behind the plate when Atlanta is facing one, and he can spell Freddie Freeman, Jason Heyward or Justin Upton when one of them needs a day off.

    While not a power hitter, Doumit has become fairly adept at picking up extra-base hits, ranking seventh over the past two seasons among players who have caught at least 40 games.

    Per Baseball-Reference's Play Index:

    PlayerTeam XBH (2012-2013)
    Buster PoseySF114
    Carlos SantanaCLE107
    Yadier MolinaSTL106
    Matt Wieters BAL102
    Mike Napoli TEX/BOS98
    Jarrod Saltalamacchia BOS97
    Ryan DoumitMIN96

    Granted, trading away Sean Gilmartin, who Baseball America ranked as the team's 10th best prospect heading into 2014 to acquire someone who figures to be a part-time player might seem like a hefty price to pay, but if there's one thing the Braves can afford to trade, it's some of their minor league pitching depth.

Jeff Samardzija: Braves Interested in Cubs Ace

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Update: Thursday, Dec. 12 at 2:22 p.m. ET

    David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution says that while the Braves will not trade top pitching prospect Lucas Sims, they remain optimistic that they may be able to swing a deal for Cubs ace Jeff Samardzija without depleting their minor league system.

    “You always want to get things done as quickly as you possibly can, but I think it was a really productive meetings for us,” GM Frank Wren said. “We were able to sort through all the possibilities early in the week, then (Tuesday) get it a little closer to (finalizing). So I feel like we have a good chance to get some things that will be good for our team done over the next couple of weeks.”

    --End of Update--

     

    Update: Monday, Dec. 9 at 4:18 p.m. ET

    Without going into specifics about why he believes this to be the case, MLB.com's Mark Bowman tweets that the chances of Samardzija landing in Atlanta "seem pretty slim."

    --End of Update--

     

    Monday, Dec. 9 at 10:45 a.m. ET

    The Braves are among the teams interested in trading for Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija, according to ESPN Chicago's Bruce Levine.

    Samardzija, 28, pitched to a 4.34 ERA and 1.35 WHIP for the Cubs in 2013, striking out a career-best 214 batters in a career-high 213.2 innings of work over 33 starts, the first time that he's cracked the 200-inning plateau in his six-year career.

    He's made six appearances (two starts) at Turner Field, pitching to a 4.76 ERA and 1.18 WHIP, striking out 27 batters in 17 innings of work. Under team control through the 2015 season, the Braves would likely want a window to negotiate an extension with him before pulling the trigger on any deal.

Aledmys Diaz: Braves Among Teams Interested in Cuban Defector

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    Monday, Dec. 9 at 5:00 p.m. ET

    The Braves were one of the teams in attendance at workouts for Cuban shortstop Aledmys Diaz, according to Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan, who says that some teams view him as a future second baseman.

    Declared a free agent in December of 2012, Diaz won't be eligible to sign with teams until Feb. 19 due to a year-long suspension for falsifying his age.

    B/R's prospect guru Mike Rosenbaum gave a quick scouting report on Diaz back in January:

    At 6’1”, 185 pounds, Diaz, who will participate in a showcase for major league scouts later this month, has a projectable frame with the potential to add strength as he continues to develop. He’s regarded as a quality defender with solid range and a strong arm—attributes that could also also make him serviceable as a third baseman. The utility of his hit tool has mixed reviews, but he does have power potential.

    The 23-year-old isn’t the next Yoenis Cespedes, though he had played in Cuba’s premier league, Serie Nacional, since 2007 before defecting last summer. Therefore, Diaz will likely require at least a half-season, possibly even more, at Triple-A before debuting in the major leagues.

    Aside from the Braves, the Blue JaysCardinalsDodgersGiants and Yankees were in attendance as well.

Atlanta's Plan for the Winter Meetings

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Saturday, Dec. 7 at 5:39 p.m. ET

    The Atlanta Journal Constitution's David O'Brien caught up with GM Frank Wren and asked him about the team's plans at the Winter Meetings, which begin Monday in Orlando. Aside from looking to add to the starting rotation, as previously noted, Atlanta would like to bolster both the bench and bullpen.

    While those are the team's priorities, Wren told O'Brien that " (We are) putting ourselves in position to add pieces we feel like would help us best, ”indicated that he is leaving his options open and won't look past any potential move that could help the team.

    While the Braves may be willing to include some of their prospects in the right deal, O'Brien notes that "premium prospects," like RHPs Jason Hursh and Lucas Sims, are not available and will not be traded.

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