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Stoking The Fires III: Atlanta Braves Trade Rumors

Joel Barker@joelabarkerSenior Writer IJune 16, 2009

CHICAGO - MAY 2:  Jeremy Hermida #27 of the Florida Marlins bats against the Chicago Cubs during the game on May 2, 2009 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

There are so many areas of this Atlanta Braves team that needs to be addressed that this story might just be an exercise in futility. But then again, aren't they all if you're not getting paid to write them?

Anyhow, I digress.

I feel like every Braves story I write has the same overwhelming theme—get rid of Francoeur and get some power in that lineup!

One of these days, maybe the Braves brass will listen, provided they care what some random fan actually thinks.

So I will take a different approach with this particular story. I'm going to list what the Braves need to do; whom they need to trade; whom they need to fire; and the potential ramifications of such events taking place.

So without further adieu:

Fire Terry Pendleton

I detailed this point in a previous article, http://bleacherreport.com/articles/197468-atlanta-braves-offense-killing-playoff-hopes. The Cubs just made my point for me after they fired their hitting coach Gerald Perry on Sunday.

I know TP isn't the one carrying the bat to the plate, but he carries the ultimate responsibility for the lack of offense simply because of his position. For all of the supervisors and managers, if your team is performing sub-par, you are held responsible. It's the same exact concept; these Braves need a new hitting mentality, and they can achieve that by firing TP.

Trade Jeff Francoeur

This statement is a no brainer. Get whatever you can for Francoeur. But as the AJC's Mark Bradley points out, Jeremy Hermida would be a great return for Frenchy. The only problem is, will Florida do it?

Hermida is from the Atlanta area, just as Francoeur is. Hermida has been largely disappointing receiving such high expectations, as has Francoeur. Hermida has performed much better than Francoeur has this season and last. Plus, any PR hit you take for trading Atlanta's native son, Francoeur will be dampened by replacing him with another Atlanta high school hero. It's worth it if Florida will agree to the deal.

Trade Yunel Escobar

I know this one may receive plenty of curses and comments, but the Braves have tried to trade him more than once because of his attitude and demeanor alone. When you add the mental lapses and the fact that Yunel is in Bobby Cox's doghouse, you have the perfect trade scenario.

Last week, there were rumors involving an unnamed Braves SS to the Boston Red Sox. Is it possible that unknown SS was Escobar? Atlanta would have to get a SS in return for Escobar, which would probably eliminate Boston from potential suitors.

One name that could surface as a possibility is J.J. Hardy of the Brewers. 2009 has been a down season for Hardy. However he has belted 20+ HR's the last two seasons and would seem to be a decent return for the mentally struggling Escobar. I say throw in RP Seth McClung, in addition to Hardy, and you have a deal.

Release Garret Anderson

Garret has had a few key hits this season but for the most part, has been largely disappointing. He's getting older and it shows. Anderson should be replaced with Kelly Johnson once Omar Infante comes back from injury, which will hopefully occur in the next two or three weeks.

Johnson's streaking ability would be diminished somewhat by platooning him with Matt Diaz in LF. Another possibility would be to trade Johnson and a pitcher to the Indians for Mark DeRosa and let him play LF full-time.

Demote Peter Moylan to long relief

Moylan has shown glimpses of his former self this season, but those glimpses have been few and far between. Either replace him with McClung, should that unlikely deal take place, or just make Manny Acosta the seventh-inning guy. The eighth and ninth innings are secure with Gonzalez and Soriano, but Moylan is killing the Braves in the seventh.

Trade Javier Vazquez for a package of prospects

This trade would be another unpopular choice. However, with Hudson coming back soon, in addition to Lowe, Jurrjens, Kawakami, Hanson, and Medlin, the Braves should not miss a beat by trading Javy's hefty salary. Plus, the Braves could address its long-term SS need by getting a top SS prospect in return.

Since part of the Braves problem is currently payroll, the financial aspects of such moves would obviously have to be taken into consideration. By moving the pieces mentioned in the article, the Braves would shed roughly $20 million, while taking on around $14 million.

What do you think about this potential lineup for Atlanta?

  1. Omar Infante, 2B
  2. Nate McLouth, CF
  3. Chipper Jones, 3B
  4. Brian McCann, C
  5. Mark DeRosa, LF
  6. Casey Kotchman, 1B
  7. Jeremy Hermida, RF
  8. J.J. Hardy, SS

I personally like that lineup better than the current one.

What about this for a starting rotation?

  1. Derek Lowe
  2. Jair Jurrjens
  3. Kenshin Kawakami/Tim Hudson 
  4. Tommy Hanson/Kenshin Kawakami
  5. Kris Medlin/Tommy Hanson

*This would only be until Tim Hudson comes back in late July/early August. Plus, you would have Vazquez until the end of July to increase his value to a potential contender needing starting pitching help

The Bullpen would include:

  1. Mike Gonzalez, Closer/Setup
  2. Rafael Soriano, Closer/Setup
  3. Seth McClung, Seventh Inning/Stopper/Long Relief
  4. Manny Acosta, Stopper
  5. Peter Moylan, Mop-Up duty
  6. Kris Medlin, Long Relief

Maybe this makes the Braves better this year, maybe it doesn't. It would at least shake things up a bit and show the fans and players that Frank Wren will do whatever it takes to field a winner. They sure haven't done that thus far in '09.

The second advantage to this would be to get Medlin and Hanson more innings for next season and beyond. Another advantage could be the possibility of dumping Yunel Escobar and his attitude while replacing him long term with whatever ransom Wren would get from a contender for Javier Vazquez.

It would also free some money up for Atlanta to get a bonified big bat next offseason.

Maybe you disagree with these moves. If so, please let me know. I am more than willing to engage in conversation over this article. All I ask is that you bring something logical to the table. In other words, don't just call me an idiot without explaining why.

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