3 Moves Atlanta Braves Could Have Made at the Deadline

Daniel Kock@@dannykockContributor IIIAugust 8, 2014

3 Moves Atlanta Braves Could Have Made at the Deadline

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    Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

    The Atlanta Braves acquired Emilio Bonifacio and James Russell from the Chicago Cubs at the July 31 trade deadline to bolster the roster for the stretch run.

    In Bonifacio, the Braves strengthened their bench with one of the top utility players in the game. He can play all the outfield positions and infield positions (minus catcher and first base) while adding an element of speed to the Braves.

    In Russell, the Braves added a veteran left-handed arm to add some depth in the bullpen.

    While both are helpful additions, they won't significantly impact the team.

    What other deals could general manager Frank Wren have explored? Here are a couple of deals that the Braves could have made.

1. Andrew Miller for Mauricio Cabrera

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    GAIL BURTON/Associated Press

    Andrew Miller was the top left-handed reliever on the market and was atop the Braves' wish list.

    However, it was ultimately the Baltimore Orioles who won the sweepstakes for the 29-year-old. The Boston Red Sox received the Orioles' third-best prospect, according to MLB.com, in Eduardo Rodriguez.

    Rodriguez is a left-handed pitcher who projects to be a back-end starter at the MLB level.

    Based on this trade, it looks like the Braves could have had Miller for minor league pitcher Mauricio Cabrera. Cabrera throws from the right side but has stuff that projects him to be a solid MLB starter with potential to be a front-end starter.

    The Red Sox likely would have jumped at this offer.

    However, I think the Braves made the right call in this case since Miller is a free agent in two months.

2. David Price for Alex Wood, Evan Gattis and Prospects

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    Kathy Willens/Associated Press

    I was shocked at the lack of return the Tampa Bay Rays received for David Price. The former Cy Young winner and bona fide ace only brought back Drew Smyly, Nick Franklin and infield prospect Willy Adames.

    For the Braves to acquire Price, they would have had to significantly top that in hopes the Rays would take on the contract of Price for the remainder of the 2014 season. The Braves had very little financial flexibility to work with at the trade deadline.

    Still, I think it was doable based on the trade that was completed. The Braves could have traded Alex Wood, Evan Gattis, Jose Peraza and Mauricio Cabrera. The Rays would have got a comparable player to Smyly in Wood as well as a comparable prospect in Peraza.

    They also would have received much more of an upgrade in Gattis over Franklin (career .214 hitter) while gaining a potential front-end starter in Cabrera.

    Looking back, the Braves easily had the talent to make that trade happen. The biggest hurdle was the financial aspect of acquiring Price.

3. Justin Upton for Oscar Taveras

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    Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

    The current eight-game losing streak has been frustrating and disappointing for Braves fans. The Braves are not out of the race just yet as they sit 4.5 games behind the Washington Nationals with a three-game series against them this weekend.

    However, I think it's fair to question if the current roster will be able to reach the World Series.

    Justin Upton has been arguably the Braves' most consistent hitter in 2014, but it looks doubtful the Braves will be able to sign him past the 2015 season.

    Meanwhile, the St. Louis Cardinals need more offense, as they rank 14th in runs scored and dead last in home runs in the National League.

    The Braves would've become significantly worse for the remainder of the 2014 season, but they also would have acquired the Cardinals' top prospect, who many feel can win batting titles in the future.

    They also would've cleared more than $15 million over the next two seasons and looked for another pitcher.