There were two major moves this week in baseball.
John Lackey, the best pitcher on the free market, signed with the Boston Red Sox.
There are a couple of ways this plays into the Braves' hand.
First of all, the Los Angeles Angels have lost their ace.
Second, the Seattle Mariners acquire their new ace to serve at the top of their rotation along with Cy Young Award Candidate Felix Hernandez.
The Angels really want Halladay, and are now under enormous pressure to make a major move. The Angels are looking for a durable, reliable veteran starter.
The Braves are looking for a young hitter or some prospects. They are also looking to deal Derek Lowe.
Derek Lowe is a durable, reliable veteran starter. Perfect fit.
While money might be a problem here for any trade involving Derek Lowe, the Angels are an awesome fit. They have quite some money to spend, and are expected to go after Jason Bay.
On the Braves' side, if General Manager Frank Wren can find a way to dig a young hitter out of a trade for Lowe, he will have his young hitter AND money to spend on a first baseman.
There are two scenarios which, in my opinion, could happen between the Angels and Braves.
Angels Get: SP Derek Lowe, $6 million ($2 million per year) in salary relief
Braves Get: OF Juan Rivera
This scenario would be absolutely wonderful for the Atlanta Braves. Rivera hit 25 homers along with an average of .287.
If this happened, I would see the 2010 outfield as:
LF Juan Rivera - .287 Average, 25 Home Runs
CF Nate McLouth - .256 Average, 20 Home Runs, 19 Stolen Bases
RF Jason Heyward - .323 Average, 17 Home Runs in 99 Games (Minor Leagues)
That is a nice offensive outfield.
Angels Get: SP Derek Lowe, $4.5 million ($1.5 million per year) in salary relief
Braves Get: RHP Trevor Reckling, OF Peter Bourjos
This scenario would also suit the Braves well. The Braves get a pitcher in Trevor Reckling who had a 2.68 ERA in Double A and High A this year. Peter Bourjos is a disciplined outfielder who has great speed, with 32 stolen bases in Double A. The Braves sure could use some speed in the future.
This scenario might be too high a cost for the Angels, so its possible that they would move one of the above prospects and a minor prospect.
Also today, the Angels have reached a one-year deal with Hideki Matsui. This would let the Angels have some offensive flexibility, enabling them to deal a hitter like Juan Rivera.