The Braves are in a tough situation.
- Three of the five opening day starters are on the DL. Hudson should come back shortly, Thomson seems to be progressing nicely but will be out through the All-Star break, and Hampton…I think he’s done for the year. Mystery injuries normally don’t signal a quick resolution.
- Chipper Jones still has at least another month in the boot, and it’s not clear that the treatment will work.
- The bullpen has not been good lately.
- Brian Jordan has been awful.
- The division race is tight.
The Braves need arms and possibly another bat in the outfield (although Langerhans and Johnson might yet prove to be acceptable full-time corners). Couple this with the fact that the Braves have a logjam in the infield. Furcal, Marte, Betemit, and Giles are having to rotate to create playing time for all the players who need or expect to get a lot of ABs. The obvious solution is to trade one of these guys (and possibly Johnson or Langerhans if an outfielder came back in a deal) for some pitching.
Everyone wants to trade Furcal (I’d be for it), but the problem is that I’m not sure what the Braves could get for him. He’s making nearly $6 million, in the midst of a horrible season (.221/.274 /.346), and he’ll only be a one-season rental because he’ll be a free agent at the end of the year. And because Furcal is a free agent, the Braves certainly don’t want to trade Betemit (who’s suddenly playing up to his top-prospect status). So…here’s what my felling is.
I think there is a decent chance that Braves may trade Marcus Giles. I like Giles, and I would hate to see him leave; but, if the Braves want to acquire a good pitcher, they will have to give up something good. Here’s why I think Giles is the most likely candidate to be moved.
- Giles’s value is pretty high. He’s young, arbitration eligible for two more years (I think it’s two), and is a pretty darn good player to have at second base.
- Moving Giles would give Betemit the ABs he’s earned and free up some room in the budget.
- Another thing about Giles is that he doesn’t seem to have regained (or maybe he never really had) the power he showed in 2003 (Iso-Power = .148 compared to his 2003 Iso-power =.211). His PrOPS also show he’s actually played a little worse than his stats (PrOPS = .722 vs. OPS = .769).
Anyway, it’s just a feeling. I really wish Furcal was having a good season, because the Braves can finally afford to move him and the market for shortstops is through the roof. There is also possibility that there is a team out there willing to take him just to ink him to a long-term deal for a discount while his output is low.
Also, it will be interesting to see what happens when Chipper comes back. If Marte is playing the way he’s played so far, he’ll just go to Richmond. However, if he turns it on, Adam LaRoche is going to be on the hot-seat. If Marte and Chipper are both going to be part of the Braves for the next few years, Chipper is going to play first base.
(Thanks Aaron for the correction. )