For the past few weeks, many fans of the Atlanta Braves have called for GM Frank Wren to make a move at the trade deadline to add a power bat. Many sportswriters have said we can't win a five or seven-game series with our line up the way it is. They say there isn't enough pop in the lineup to beat the great pitchers in October. Also, the Braves had been getting owned by left handed pitching this season.
All of this had been happening however with out Matt Diaz in the lineup. Diaz went down early in the season and has been on the DL for the bulk of the season. Diaz destroys left handed pitching. If you are a left-handed pitcher and you make a mistake to Diaz, he will crush you (ask Wade LeBlanc about that). Diaz has been on a tear since coming off the DL, hitting over .400 with five homeruns and has homered in three straight games.
With a healthy Diaz, the Braves have more balance to their line up. Against LHP, we can put him out in left field. Against RHP we can put either Hinske or Melky Cabrera out there.
Jason Heyward has recently came back from a stint on the DL as well, and if last night is any indication the rest of the NL should be on notice (Heyward went three for four with two doubles and a single and was hammering the ball). Brian McCann has been on fire since winning the ASG MVP award, and Prado is still playing at an exceptional level.
As of right now the Braves are 6.5 up on the Mets and seven up on the Phillies. We have the best record in the NL and the third best in baseball. We have come this far without any big trades; the question is do we need to make a trade? Making a trade could benefit us greatly if we could get a power bat to drive in all of these runners we leave stranded.
However, we are a first place team with excellent chemistry. Bringing in an outsider could ruin the delicate balance we have struck. We got rid of one clubhouse cancer (Escobar), so I hope Wren uses caution when evaluating players to bring in. We've got a good thing going here and nothing's really broken. So should Wren try and fix us?
Right now I would be comfortable staying pat. However, I have seen our offense almost disappear for two or three game stretches, which isn't bad in the long marathon regular season. However, the postseason is a sprint. Having your offense disappear for even one game can be a deathblow.
However, we have Nate McClouth slated to comeback from the DL today. He supposedly retooled his swing and shortened it, and is primed to to return to his Pittsburgh form. I'm skeptical at best about that, but if Nate comes back and shows promise we will probably stay pat. And maybe that's a good thing. Chemistry is a tricky subject and the wrong ingredients can cause an implosion.