As a fan of the Atlanta Braves, I have mixed feelings heading into the 2011 campaign. Sure, the Braves won the National League Wild Card in 2010, making the playoffs for the first time since 2005. But for the fourth year in a row, the Philadelphia Phillies captured the National League East crown.
As things currently stand heading into the 2011 season, there is no reason to believe the Phillies won’t win the division for a fifth straight time, and possibly even a second World Series in four years. With the addition of Cliff Lee to a rotation that already looked like it was assembled by a fantasy baseball manager, the boys from Philadelphia have the entirety of Braves Country worried.
To help combat the Phillies’ all-world pitching staff, the Braves added second baseman Dan Uggla from the Marlins for pennies on the dollar. The Braves sold high on Omar Infante, who will undoubtedly take a step back from his 2010 season.
Another key addition for the Braves is George Sherrill. The former closer provides stability in a young bullpen that will rely heavily on Craig Kimbrel and Jonny Venters after the retirement of Billy Wagner.
These moves are great and all, but they are not enough. The Braves still need to pull off another deal or two in order to compete with the Phillies in the NL East. The biggest hole Atlanta needs to address is a third outfielder to play alongside Jason Heyward and Martin Prado.
Frank Wren has plenty of pitching at his disposal to complete a trade. Jair Jurrjens, Brandon Beachy, and Randall Delgado are all players that are dispensable.
One name that shouldn’t be discussed though is the Braves’ top prospect, Julio Teheran. The young phenom has too much talent to trade away. He is breezing through the minors and should make his major league debut sometime in 2011.
With all that being said, here are 10 trades that would help the Braves compete with the Phillies.