Atlanta Braves Trade Rumors: Why a Martin Prado Trade Is a Bad Idea

Jonah P DAnalyst INovember 27, 2011

ATLANTA - SEPTEMBER 16: Martin Prado #14 of the Atlanta Braves hits a 2nd inning home run against the New York Mets at Turner Field on September 16, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

There has recently been talk of the Atlanta Braves trading away Martin Prado during the offseason. Prado could be viewed by the Braves as expendable because he is a utility player under high demand and the Braves are in need of improvement.

Last season, he was injured for a month, and he struggled offensively, which could lessen his value. However, Prado can be extremely useful to any team, and he is more important to the Braves than they may realize.

Prado is, arguably, the best utility player in baseball. In his career, he has a batting average of .293, and an OBP of .341.

Last year, during his down season, he hit 13 home runs and 57 RBI. Also, he gets on base often and scores a large amount of runs.

Along with Prado's great offense, his defense is extremely valuable. Not only is his defense impressive, his versatility would be priceless to many teams.

He is an accomplished defender at 1B, 2B, 3B and LF. He is also capable of playing SS and RF.

Considering all of this, Prado's $3.1 million contract is a great deal for the Braves, even though he is arbitration-eligible this year.

Prado's skills are a better fit for the Braves than any other team.

Because Chipper Jones is very prone to injuries, it is likely that he will be in need of a backup for a large amount of games. Prado can provide this, as well as days of rest for most of his teammates.

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 10: Seth Smith #7 of the Colorado Rockies runs against the Cincinnati Reds at Coors Field on September 10, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. Colorado beat Cincinnati 12-7.  (Photo by Jack Dempsey/Getty Images)
Jack Dempsey/Getty Images

Without him, the Braves would have no utility player to take this role.

The teams that have expressed the most interest in Prado are the Colorado Rockies and the Detroit Tigers.

The Rockies' best offer for Prado would probably be left fielder Seth Smith, who last season hit .284. The best player the Tigers would offer is probably Delmon Young, who also plays left field and hit .274 last season.

Neither of these players are obvious improvements over Prado, which means trading for them would not be worth it.

Prado's importance to the Braves is huge, and to receive a player of his worth is very unlikely.

With all of the assets Prado brings to the Braves, surely trading him away could only hurt the team.