Atlanta Braves Trade Rumors: The Team's Top Center Field Options

Will BrownContributor IJuly 30, 2011

Atlanta Braves Trade Rumors: The Team's Top Center Field Options

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    Buster Olney of ESPN thinks the Braves will now go after a center fielder prior to the deadline, and he mentions Coco Crisp as a candidate. Ken Rosenthal also writes that the Braves are hot on the trail of two other center fielders, along with some corner outfielders.

    In this slideshow, we will be taking a look at the center fielders the Braves could snatch up. The position is currently being held by Jordan Schafer, who Rosenthal describes as an "elite defender," and Nate McLouth, who has yet to find his Pirates-form in Atlanta.

    All but one of these guys is available now, with one guy possibly coming available if another trade goes down.

Coco Crisp

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    Coco Crisp isn't the best overall player left on the market, but he is a good player who knows what he can and cannot do. His slash of .266/.319/.383 isn't awe-inspiring, but it's much better than what the Braves currently have in center field.

    Crisp's biggest strength is his speed, as he has stolen 27 bases so far this year for the Oakland Athletics. That puts him on pace for 41 total (or 14 more) the rest of the way. That would be a big plus for the Braves, as Crisp would be the first true leadoff hitter they've had in a while.

    Crisp would also be cheaper than the rest of the names on this list. 

B.J. Upton

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    Upton, from a strictly talent standpoint, is the best of the center field options. His on-the-field play doesn't always match up with his physical ability though. 

    Sure, Upton has hit 16 homers and stolen 23 bases, one of the most impressive guys from that standpoint, but he's also hitting just .228 with a .711 OPS.

    The slash numbers are no worse than what the Braves currently have out in center, but neither McLouth nor Schafer can give you Upton's total package.

    Upton doesn't think he will be traded, but I think the Rays will move him for the right package.

Michael Bourn

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    If I had a choice in which center fielder the Braves traded for, I would choose Michael Bourn.

    Bourn has posted a slash of .304/.364/.405, and he is leading the majors in steals with 39.

    That speed would be invaluable to a Braves team that doesn't have any, and they wouldn't miss beat in center field defensively.

    Bourn will come with a steep price though, and I don't know if the Braves will be willing to give up enough to get him.

The Surprise: Drew Stubbs

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    This all hypothetical at this point, but there is a chance Stubbs becomes available. The Reds are, per ESPN, going after Bourn, which could open up Stubbs if they can make the trade happen.

    Stubbs is very balanced offensively, like Upton, and has some very good potential going forward. He is currently hitting .251 with an OPS of .717. He's hit 13 homers and stolen 26 bases.

    That means he is on pace to hit seven homers and steal 14 bases the rest of the way, and with his slash, I think the Braves would be very happy if they could get him.