Upton or Ludwick could benefit Braves
The Braves have said their activity on the trade market will not be influenced by the fact that Brian McCann will miss at least the next couple weeks with a strained left oblique muscle. Instead, they have said are simply continuing their pursuit to add a right-handed bat to their lineup.
While Josh Willingham and Ryan Ludwick have been suggested as options, they are certainly not viewed as having the same kind of potential impact as Rays’ outfielder B.J. Upton, who could spend the final two months of this season as Atlanta’s starting center fielder and leadoff hitter. The Rays have had a scout in Atlanta throughout this week’s series against the Pirates.
The Braves will likely have to part ways with Mike Minor or another of their top pitching prospects to get Upton, who could make approximately $7 million during his final arbitration-eligible season next year.
The Astros are seemingly asking for much more for Hunter Pence, who could make closer to $11 million via arbitration next year. A Major League source said he believes Pence will end up with the Phillies this weekend or possibly during the offseason.
Because he is the better defender, Ludwick seemingly fits the Braves’ needs more than Willingham. If the Braves land either one of these right-handed hitting outfielders, they will likely platoon with Jason Heyward in right field and spend some time in left field when Martin Prado is playing third base.
With the Braves planning to give third baseman Chipper Jones regular rest down the stretch, Prado could be spending a lot of time at third base. — Mark Bowman