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MLB Trade Rumors: Hunter Pence and 5 Players the Atlanta Braves Are Targeting

Joey HnathCorrespondent IMay 26, 2011

MLB Trade Rumors: Hunter Pence and 5 Players the Atlanta Braves Are Targeting

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    HOUSTON - MAY 24:  Hunter Pence #9 of the Houston Astros doubles to right field in the third inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers  at Minute Maid Park on May 24, 2011 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    Though it is only late May, the Atlanta Braves are in the thick of things in the NL East and are pushing towards a second consecutive playoff berth.

    The Braves are loaded with one of the deepest pitching staffs in the majors.  However, their offense has been lackluster thus far.

    Current players, like second baseman Dan Uggla and first baseman Freddie Freeman, have not played up to their potential this season.  Once summer rolls around, they should start getting as hot as the weather in Atlanta.

    Even with Uggla and Freeman producing, the Braves would still have some holes on their roster.  The two biggest needs for the Braves are a leadoff hitter and another outfielder.

    As always, general manager Frank Wren will be active and try to acquire the necessary pieces to push the Braves over the hump.

    Here are five players the Atlanta Braves are targeting.

Coco Crisp

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    ANAHEIM, CA - MAY 23:  Coco Crisp #4 of the Oakland Athletics singles in the seventh inning on a line drive to right field during the game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium on May 23, 2011 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Joe Sc
    Joe Scarnici/Getty Images

    The Braves are in the market for an outfielder, especially one that can hit at the top of the lineup.

    ESPN’s Buster Olney suggests that Coco Crisp would be a good addition to the Braves and it’s hard to argue his point.

    Crisp is a great leadoff man who has 183 stolen bases.

    Crisp would be able to push Martin Prado into the No. 2 spot, which is where the Braves want their left fielder to hit.

    Out of all the Oakland outfielders available on the trade market, look for Atlanta to push for Crisp.

Grady Sizemore

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    OAKLAND, CA - MAY 03:  Grady Sizemore #24 of the Cleveland Indians in action against the Oakland Athletics at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on May 3, 2011 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Cleveland’s Grady Sizemore is back in 2011 making an impact for the first place Indians.

    Thinks are going great in Cleveland now, but if they fall out of the playoff hunt, look for Sizemore to be on the market.

    Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal writes that if Grady Sizemore were made available, the Braves would be very interested to acquire him.

    Sizemore would be a good fit not only in center field, but in the leadoff spot for the Braves.

    Look for Sizemore’s name to keep floating around the Braves’ rumor mill this summer.

David DeJesus

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    ANAHEIM, CA - MAY 24:  David DeJesus #12 of the Oakland Athletics runs the bases after a home run hit in the fourth inning during the game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium on May 24, 2011 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Joe Sc
    Joe Scarnici/Getty Images

    David DeJesus has been on the Braves’ radar for quite some time.

    Before Atlanta acquired Rick Ankiel at the deadline last summer, they were in serious talks with then Royals outfielder DeJesus.

    Though teammate Coco Crisp may be a better fit for the Braves, DeJesus could wind up landing in Atlanta due to GM Frank Wren’s familiarity with him.

    ESPN’s Jason Churchill also thinks the Braves will be pushing hard for DeJesus at the deadline.

    We’ll see if the Braves are able to land him the second time around.

Denard Span

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    MINNEAPOLIS, MN - APRIL 13: Denard Span #2 of the Minnesota Twins singles against the Kansas City Royals during the fifth inning of their game on April 13, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
    Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

    Not only does Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal believe that Grady Sizemore is on the Braves’ radar, but that Minnesota’s Denard Span is another possibility.

    Like Sizemore, Span is a center fielder who can also hit leadoff—a perfect combination for the Braves.

    However, unlike Sizemore, Span plays for a team in last place and looking to shake things up.

    If Minnesota keeps faltering, they could be big time sellers at the deadline.  Atlanta would be wise to grab Denard Span.

Hunter Pence

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    HOUSTON - MAY 24:  Hunter Pence #9 of the Houston Astros scores on a single by Carlos Lee in the third inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Minute Maid Park on May 24, 2011 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    ESPN Jayson Stark reports that the Braves have shown interest in the Houston outfielder.

    Hunter Pence is making $6.9 million this year, which may be a little steep for the Braves.  The Philadelphia Phillies, though, have also shown interest in Pence.

    Pence is under contract until 2013 though, which could lure Atlanta into making a deal since he won’t just be a rental.

    Pence would be a great addition to the Braves who look to add another outfielder to their roster.  However, Houston is almost certain to ask for one of the Braves’ great minor league pitchers, and more.

    If the Braves are willing to deal some of their top prospects, they could land Pence and keep him out of Philly.

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