Early in Wednesday night's game against the Chicago Cubs the Atlanta Braves announced they had acquired All Star centerfielder Nate McLouth from the Pittsburgh Pirates for a package of minor leaguers.
Atlanta unloaded young pitching prospect Charlie Morton and outfielder Gorkys Hernandez in the package, two names that were linked to Jake Peavy rumors early this year.
In McLouth, the Braves acquire a left handed hitting outfielder coming off a career season who, earlier this year, signed a three-year extension worth just $15.75 million. McLouth hit 26 home runs and drove in 94 in 2008 while stealing 23 bases.
This deal certainly clouds the outfield situation for the Braves moving forward. With McLouth being an All Star-caliber centerfielder with a relatively small salary for the next three years, the question now becomes how his presence on the Braves' roster impacts the future of other outfielders in the Atlanta organization.
Jordan Schaefer started the season in center for the Braves, but was demoted when he experienced an extended slump. Gregor Blanco had been starting in center between Jeff Francouer and 2009 winter addition Garrett Anderson.
It will be interesting to see if McLouth becomes the first piece of a series of domino moves that would land another big name in Atlanta. Schaefer, like Morton and Hernandez, was a name that was rumored to be on the Padres short list of players they would want in exchange for Peavy.
There were also rumors that the Braves entertained offers for Francouer this winter, with the Yankees being one of the teams rumored to be interested. The Yankees traded for White Sox outfielder/first baseman Nick Swisher just before the Braves also made a deal with the Sox, acquiring starter Javier Vazquez.