Sitting at 25-25 on June 2, the Braves needed to make some moves to remain competitive in the NL East. Frank Wren again showed that he has the talent/experience to continue to be a successful major league GM.
First, they moved highly-touted prospect Jordan Schafer back to Triple-A Gwinnett to learn more plate discipline. He struck out 63 times since his debut where he hit a home run in his first at bat. He has the potential to be a 20-20 guy, but he needs to learn to hit consistently.
Taking his place is Gregor Blanco. He may not provide tremendous power, but he can play all outfield positions and provide lead-off help to Kelly Johnson. At the end of Tuesday, the outfield still needed a power bat until they can decide what to do with the struggling Jeff Franceour—who hit a home run to tie the game with the Cubs last night.
With an embarrassment of riches in minor league pitchers, Wren made the first big splash in the trade market. He traded pitchers Charlie Morton, Jeff Locke, and highly-touted prospect Gorkys Hernandez to the Pirates for Nate McLouth, who according to Braves.com, will serve as the everyday center fielder.
There is much to be excited about here. His nine home runs immediately makes him the most productive power hitter in the braves outfield. He hit 26 home runs last year with a .276 average and will bolster up a lineup at the bottom of the National League in home runs.
Finally, the Braves released long-time hero, Tom Glavine. Fighting back from injury, Glavine placed the Braves in a difficult position as some top pitching prospects need no more minor league seasoning.
Some have viewed the release as wrong, making it sound as though the Braves let him rehab just in time to release him. However, this was the best possible situation for Glavine, who could have been released at any time yet was able to rehab on the Braves dime.
Now the Braves looked poised to make a run at the division. If Jeff Franceour can start to produce consistently, there is no reason to think that they will not be able to win the division. Let’s go Braves!