Let's see here...
Defense, get back to me in two weeks.
There you go—the first month report card for the Atlanta Braves.
We all know what's happened, B-Mac and Garret Anderson are hurt, and we are relying on utility guys to spell out upper-mid-tier guys (*ahem* Kelly Johnson) when the others should be playing
What to do, what to do?
Well, the biggest question mark is with the bats, so that should be the focus as the July 31 trade deadline draws closer.
However, when McCann and Anderson return, that problem could solve itself.
But, if it doesn't, the Braves do have a few expendable players—namely Kelly Johnson, Jo-Jo Reyes, Charlie Morton, and Gorkys Hernandez.
Don't get me wrong, I like all of these guys, but right now, I like Omar Infante, Tommy Hanson, and Jordan Schafer.
Kelly is the streakiest hitter in the game—period. He is a sufficient middle-of-the-order guy when he is playing well, but (as I just mentioned) those times are on and off like a light switch.
For the Braves, Omar Infante has served as an excellent lead-off hitter and adds more balance with his right-handed bat.
Reyes is Reyes. He pitches well, gets cocky, and crashes. His talent is plus, but his mental make-up isn't.
He could be a number-two hitter if he puts it all together, but all indications point toward a four or five pitcher at best.
Morton is a lot like Jo-Jo.
He has the talent but has the same mental problems, only he loses a lot of confidence instead of becoming cocky.
Gorkys has the best value of any of these guys. He has speed, that according to some scouts, is better than Jose Reyes' at the same stage of development.
Jordan Schafer is already making his mark as a count-worker, which, at only 22-years-old, should allow him to become a very productive hitter (K's mean little to me when he walks as much as he does, with many BB's come many strikeouts).
Now, Hernandez would not be on this list if not for the fact that a big move could be happening in a few months.
Gorkys will, in time, become a very good lead-off hitter. However, if the Braves do decide to make a big move, Hernandez could be a big piece.
Now, as you all know, I am only a simple Bleacher Report Scribe, and I have no insight as to the goings-on inside the Braves', if you will, "war room," but I would like to think things are churning, just in case they need something.
I'll put up a worst-case scenario: B-Mac needs another Lasik surgery, G Anderson is stuck on the bench because of his calf, and the Braves are six games back on July 30.
Looking at the direction of the league right now, here is the move I would make: Charlie Morton and a lesser prospect than any of the above listed (maybe Kala Ka’aihue, Brandon Hicks, or Eric Campbell) to the Baltimore Orioles for Luke Scott.
The 31-year-old DeLand, Florida native sports a .496 slugging percentage and 55 home runs for his five years of service.
I know I said that Omar adds more balance with a right-handed bat, but Kelly Johnson (who I have Omar replacing this season) isn't a 20-something home run guy like Scott is.
I kind of, although not publicly on Bleacher Report or any other platform, wanted the Braves to get the left-handed batter, but that didn't happen (I was enamored with Furcal, Peavy, Lowe, Burnett, and Ken Griffey Jr.).
This move, if it were to go down, would set up the following:
R Omar Infante (he's doing good in this spot)
L Jordan Schafer (seeing fastballs in front of Chipper could be beneficial)
S Chipper Jones
L Brian McCann (if he were to return from the WCS)
R Jeff Francoeur
L Luke Scott
R Yunel Escobar (Bobby says he sees him as a run-producer)
L Casey Kotchman (nowhere else to put him)
This may not be lethal, but is the offense now?
Scott is a 20-HR guy that could be very good behind B-Mac and Frenchy.
I don't know of Scott's availability (I did hear his name some in the offseason), but I can dream.