The Braves appear to be patiently awaiting the right time to deal Jair Jurrjens.
For the last few weeks the rumors of the Atlanta Braves dealing away key contributors have been sweeping through the fan base. Those rumors indicate that the team could be willing to part with Jair Jurrjens and Martin Prado, especially if they can acquire a big bat to play left field.
So far it's been quiet on actual news regarding the Braves moving All-Star pitcher Jair Jurrjens, but there have been some stories leaking out that say this may be what the Braves have wanted all along.
According to a tweet by Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the Braves are reportedly waiting out the free agency of CJ Wilson and Mark Buehrle before dealing Jurrjens. The hope is that the trade market could increase as some of the other top options are off the table. Another rumor according to Mark Bowman of MLB.com says the team may not be shopping Jurrjens as actively because there is some worry that Tim Hudson may not be full strength to start spring training after recent back surgery.
With little movement on the free agent market in terms of starting pitchers, Braves fans may be waiting a little while longer before anything could happen on the trade front with Jurrjens. Though once Wilson and Buehrle sign and if Japanese star Yu Darvish decides to stay in Japan(he's undecided currently), the Braves could find a team willing to really pay up for Jurrjens.
This article takes a look at 10 different deals the Braves would be willing to accept for Jurrjens as a recent report on Twitter by SI's Jon Heyman reports that the Reds are "very interested" in Jurrjens and are one of 10 teams with interest.
The Braves appear to be interested in Nolan Arenado.
The Braves could be interested in a deal with the Rockies where they receive outfielder Seth Smith and promising third base prospect Nolan Arenado. Rumors state that the Braves like Smith, and there was a recent tweet by Danny Knobler by CBSSports.com that says the Braves tried to offer Martin Prado to the Rockies for that package.
Arenado would be the key to the deal, as he could be an excellent long term answer at third base once Chipper Jones retires. The 20 year-old hit .298/.349/.487 with 20 homers and 122 runs batted in for High-A Modesto last season. Arenado followed that season up by winning MVP of the Arizona Fall League. He has also worked hard to improve his defense, and now projects to be league-average at the hot corner.
Smith is a solid hitter capable of adding another quality bat to the Atlanta offense. Although his 2011 numbers of .284/.347/.483 with 15 homers and 53 runs batted in were a bit inflated by playing his home games at Coors Field, he was still solid on the road. His road line of ..282/.358/.456 with six homers and 21 runs batted in probably give a better look into what he could do in the Braves lineup.
While the Rockies obviously rejected the package for Prado, they could be more inclined to make the deal if they were getting an All-Star pitcher like Jurrjens in return.
Hanley Ramirez would be a good fit for the Braves.
The Marlins may not be shopping Hanley Ramirez right now, but their starting pitching staff is still a major question mark. The fact that All-Star Josh Johnson is battling health issues only further complicates things.
Once the Marlins signed Jose Reyes rumors started swirling that the team would move star Hanley Ramirez from shortstop to third base. Ramirez may be coming off a career worst low, but just one year ago he was considered by most to be the top offensive shortstop in the game.
Ramirez publicly started that he did not want to move to center field if the Marlins signed Reyes, something that was rumored while the Marlins were still chasing Reyes. Considering Ramirez has publicly criticized team officials before, it's not hard to imagine that he won't like the move to third base.
When you spend big money on free agents like Jose Reyes and Heath Bell it shows that you want to compete immediately. A trade for a proven talented pitcher and a third baseman would help the team address one of their biggest issues as well as give the Marlins a replacement for Hanley Ramirez at third base. The Braves may need to include a prospect as well to make this an even deal, but it would make sense for both teams even though it's not very likely.
The Braves could fill their hole at shortstop with Eduardo Nunez.
Rumors were swirling around a couple weeks ago that the Braves were interested in Eduardo Nunez from the Yankees. Nunez, who filled in well as a utility player this season, could potentially be a long term answer at shortstop for the Braves.
Nunez received 309 at bats last season while being the teams' primary utility man and filling in for Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter while they were hurt. He hit .265/.313/.385 with five homers and 30 runs batted in while stealing 22 bases in 28 attempts.
The 24 year-old's offensive potential in a full-time role is fairly strong for shortstop, which makes him an attractive option for the Braves. Jurrjens has more value that Nunez on the trade market, so the Yankees would also need to add in a prospect or two.
If the Angels lose out on CJ Wilson, Jair Jurrjens could be a fit.
This is one example of why the Braves could be waiting on the decisions of some of the top free agent pitchers before dealing Jair Jurrjens. The Angels are currently in pursuit of CJ Wilson, and if they can't afford him they could be interested in a cheaper option like Jurrjens.
The Angels could be willing to deal one of their surplus of options at shortstop, where the Braves currently have a large hole. Erick Aybar or Maicer Izturis are each capable of being an every-day starter at short. The 27 year-old Aybar is coming off a season where he set new career highs in homers(10), steals(30), and runs batted in(59), while the 31 year-old Izturis is a career .275/.339/.389 hitter in eight seasons.
Aybar is obviously the more desirable player, but Izturis could also land the Braves a prospect in the deal. The deal makes sense as both teams would be filling holes by dealing from a position of strength, and could help push each club closer to a return to the postseason.
Zack Cozart could be used as trade bait if the Reds want Jair Jurrjens badly enough.
After Bronson Arroyo and Edinson Volquez failed miserably last season the Reds have been trying to acquire starting pitching depth for most of the past year. So there's a strong chance that they could be willing to pay the Braves asking price for Jurrjens considering the state of their pitching staff.
If recovered from Tommy John Surgery on his non-throwing shoulder, Cozart should be ready to take over an everyday job this season. Cozart may not hit for a high average in the majors, but he's a shortstop with good pop and the ability to steal 30 bases in a season.
Cozart would be the center piece but the Braves would also likely receive either a prospect or a role player back. It's not the most likely trade of the ones mentioned, but it is one the Braves would love to make and one that would help the Reds as they try to return to the playoffs.
Josh Reddick deserves a full-time job in 2012.
The Red Sox are another team in the hunt for CJ Wilson, and accoring to rumors they don't appear to be the front-runners right now. If they lose out on Wilson, the Sox may turn their attention to trade targets, making Jurrjens an option.
The Red Sox may not have the shortstop the Braves crave, but third baseman Will Middlebrooks is a potential every day starter. He's a strong defender with a capable bat and developing power. He could be ready to take over for Chipper Jones once Chipper is ready to retire.
Reddick is a capable starter in left field, but if not he could be a very strong fourth outfielder this year. He would also be a potential replacement in case Michael Bourn leaves as a free agent following this season. After impressing in Boston by hitting .280 with seven homers in 87 games, he appears to be ready for abigger role.
This deal would help the Braves offense this season, and will provide a potential oong-term solution. If the Sox are willing to make this deal, the Braves would be smart to make this move.
The Blue Jays are close to being able to compete with the Yankees, Red Sox and Rays in the AL East, but seem to be just one or two starting pitchers away from being a serious threat. A trade for Jair Jurrjens would be a huge step forward and signal that the Jays are ready to compete now, and with a deep farm system they should be there for very long.
Jake Marisnick is a five-tool center field prospect who had a monster season in Low-A last year. Marisnick hit .320/.392/.496 with 14 homers, 77 runs batted in and 37 steals in 45 attempts. That's always an impressive season at any level, let alone for a 20 year-old in his first full season.
Another prospect or player that can help now, such as left fielder Eric Thames would give the Braves some current production. This deal would be more about the future for the Braves than the present, but you can't turn down a potential All-Star.
Wil Myers is an elite level prospect.
When the Braves first put it out there that they were willing to trade Jair Jurrjens and Martin Prado, the other team in the initial rumor was the Royals. The rumor was that the Braves' duo would be sent to the Royals for Lorenzo Cain and Wil Myers, but after trading Melky Cabrera the Royals may not be interested in dealing Cain.
Myers was one of the top prospects in the game heading into the 2011 season, but he struggled mightily due to a position change, aggressive promotion to Double-A at a young age and a knee injury. The 20 year-old's Double-A debut saw him put up a less than ideal .254/.353/.393 line with eight homers and 49 runs batted in.
With scouts really starting the catcher-turned-outfielder, Myers needed a strong showing in the Arizona Fall League to bring his stock back up. Myers did just that as he was possibly the most impressive player in the league, while putting up a .360/.481/.674 line with four homers and 18 runs batted in during his 23 games. He also drew 20 walks to only 18 strikeouts.
Myers is a very high-ceiling prospect, the kind of player that the Braves would love to have. He still has something to prove in the minors after struggling so badly last year, but the AFL performance was a good start. If the Royals were willing to do this, the Braves wouldn't be able to pass this deal up.
Colby Rasmus could help the Braves right now.
The Blue Jays were already on this list, but the fact is they need starting pitching and have talent to deal. Colby Rasmus is a high-ceiling player, but the Jays still have Jose Bautista, Rajai Davis, Travis Snider and Eric Thames in the outfield and a hole at the top of their rotation behind Ricky Romero.
Rasmus was traded to the Jays by the Cardinals last year because he and then-manager Tony LaRussa didn't see eye-to-eye. Even though Rasmus struggled in both St. Louis and Toronto last year, he is the same guy that hit .276/.361/.498 with 23 homers, 66 runs batted in and 12 steals in 2010. He's also only going to be 25 years-old for the 2012 season and will be under team control for the next three seasons.
The Jays aren't likely to want to deal Rasmus, but the fact is that they have extra depth in the outfield and are in need of a pitcher. They also have a load of outfield prospects like Jake Marisnick and Anthony Gose in the minors. That means Rasmus could be sacrificed for much-needed pitching.
Could Jesus Montero play in the outfield?
Yes, the Yankees were already on this list, but they really need pitching and the Braves really need a strong bat. Assuming the Braves believe that Jesus Montero has any chance to stick in left field defensively, this is a potential deal. The fact that left field is considered a good spot to hide a weak defender and the Braves currently have Gold Glove Award winning center fielder Michael Bourn, this is a possibility.
Montero is not likely to stick at catcher defensively, so whatever team he ends up playing for will have to eventually convert him. Still he's a potential .300 hitter with 30 home run ability. That's enough potential to make him an All-Star at pretty much any position.
The Yankees seem like they are destined to move Montero eventually, and really need to upgrade their pitching staff if they want to advance further into the playoffs than they did in 2011. A strong big league debut which saw him hit .328 with four homers and 12 runs batted in during 61 at bats was a strong first impression. Montero is exactly the type of player the Braves want, so if there's a chance that the front office believes he can stick in the outfield defensively this trade makes a lot of sense.