With Mark Buehrle and C.J. Wilson no longer on the free agent market, some have argued Jair Jurrjens is the best available starting pitcher for pitching-hungry teams. But the Braves still have not received a trade proposal attractive enough to trade Jurrjens.
The Yankees, Rangers, Rockies, Reds, Cubs and Red Sox are among the clubs that have been identified as potential suitors for Jurrjens. The D-backs (trade with the A’s) and Marlins (signing of Buehrle) were more prominent members of this group most of last week.
With a number of teams still looking for starting pitching, interest in Jurrjens could increase over the next few weeks. One definite influence is the market for Yu Darvish. Once clubs better understand what they will have to pay the Japanese hurler, they might show greater interest in Jurrjens.
There are some concerns about Jurrjens’ right knee, which has sidelined him during the latter stages of the past two seasons. But there might still be some teams willing to take a chance on him as he comes off an All-Star season with salary projected to be just north of $5 million. The 25-year-old pitcher has one more year of eligibility beyond this year.
The Braves also have not yet heard an attractive trade offer for Martin Prado, who is also drawing attention from the Rockies. The Tigers were quickly rejected last month when they offered outfielder Delmon Young for Prado. - Mark Bowman
Braves general manager Frank Wren has said he does not need to make a significant trade this winter. But scouts and executives from other Major League clubs are still getting a sense either Jair Jurrjens or Martin Prado will be moved.
Jurrjens would provide the more significant return, especially after C.J. Wilson and Mark Buehrle are no longer free-agent options for pitching-hungry teams. Right now, some potential suitors believe the Braves are asking for too much in return for the right-handed pitcher.
With fewer options available for these clubs to fill their respective starting rotations, teams might be willing to provide more for Jurrjens.
There are a number of clubs concerned about Jurrjens’ durability. His right knee has prevented him from pitching down the stretch during both of the past two seasons. But he did provide himself and the Braves some confidence when he threw five strong innings while wearing a knee brace during an Instructional League game one day after this year’s regular season concluded.
By moving Jurrjens or Prado, the Braves would gain approximately $5 million worth of payroll flexibility. But Wren has continued to stress that he does not have to make a trade for payroll purposes. – Mark Bowman
Braves general manager Frank Wren confirmed adding a power-hitting outfielder remains on his wish list. But while meeting with a small group of reporters Monday afternoon, he said his only true roster need is to find a backup shortstop.
The Braves would like to add a veteran to serve as a backup infielder and provide insurance in the event that Tyler Pastornicky proves he is not ready to serve as Atlanta’s starting shortstop. Their free agent targets include Nick Punto and Ronny Cedeno.
Jack Wilson’s offensive woes hurt his candidacy and Edgar Renteria is no longer deemed durable enough to serve as an insurance option who might have to play on regular basis.
If the Braves make a significant acquisition, they will likely do so via a trade involving either Jair Jurrjens or Martin Prado. But as the first day of this year’s Winter Meetings neared its end Monday, it remained unclear whether the Braves will move either of these players.
CBS Sports.com’s Jon Heyman tweeted that Reds were showing interest in Jurrjens. But it does not appear the Reds have shown any interest in the right-handed pitcher.
Nothing has really changed in relation to Prado and Jurrjens. The Braves are only going to move them if they are gaining a significant return. — Mark Bowman
The Braves have made it known they will not trade Jair Jurrjens unless they receive a significant return. But even if they receive a significant offer, they may be reluctant to remove Jurrjens from a rotation that has some health concerns.
There is some uncertainty surrounding Tommy Hanson’s shoulder and now reason to wonder when Tim Hudson might be ready to pitch. When Hudson underwent surgery to repair a herniated disc in his back last week, the Braves said he would be ready for the start of Spring Training.
But a Major League source said Monday morning that Hudson has told some close friends that he is not confident he’ll be ready to be in the starting rotation at the beginning of the regular season.
Because they have impressive starting-pitching depth with the likes of Julio Teheran, Randall Delgado and Kris Medlen, the Braves could certainly get by with Hudson missing a few weeks or the first month, but Hudson’s situation seemingly provides even more reason for the Braves to be hesitant about dealing Jurrjens, even if the return is significant.
– Mark Bowman
Things have been rather quiet for Braves general manager Frank Wren and his staff over the past couple weeks. But they are expecting to be busy during next week’s Winter Meetings in Dallas.
The Braves are still willing to listen to offers for Martin Prado and Jair Jurrjens and there are teams still showing definite interest in both players. But interested clubs have come to realize Wren is only interested in trading Prado or Jurrjens if he gains a significant return.
Wren has said he is not looking to move a particular player or reduce his payroll. But if he sees an opportunity to significantly improve his club with a trade, he will make a deal. Most likely, that deal would involve either Jurrjens or Prado.
The demand for Jurrjens will likely increase once C.J. Wilson and Mark Buehrle, this year’s top free-agent starting pitchers, decide where they will be pitching next year.
The Rangers, Yankees, Marlins are among the teams that are expected to talk to the Braves about Jurrjens.
The Braves are evaluating options to acquire an outfielder with power potential and also still discussing potential replacements for free agent shortstop Alex Gonzalez, who is expected to sign a multi-year deal elsewhere.
It seems like the Braves will be content to go to Spring Training with Tyler Pastornicky as their projected starting shortstop. They are currently looking to sign a free agent like Jack Wilson or possibly Edgar Renteria to serve as a backup and insurance in the event that Pastornicky is not ready.
With Pastornicky and Andrelton Simmons in their system, the Braves are not looking to make a long-term commitment to a veteran shortstop. Simmons, who is considered one of the game’s top defensive shortstop prospects, might be ready to make the jump to the Majors after the All-Star break.
The Braves are not currently showing much interest to outfielders on the free agent market. If they end up acquiring an impact bat in the form of outfielder this winter, they believe they could do so via a trade involving either Jurrjens or Prado. - Mark Bowman
With it known that Jair Jurrjens and Martin Prado could be had with the right offer, the Braves have understandably received some attention during this week’s General Managers Meetings in Milwaukee. But as this month has past it has become even more apparent that Atlanta GM Frank Wren will need to receive a rather attractive offer before seriously thinking about trading either of these two players.
Because this year’s free agent market is weak in the starting pitching department, it makes sense for the Braves to at least listen to offers for Jurrjens. But it will take a substantial offer to land the 25-year-old right-handed pitcher.
There’s no doubt the Braves have an abundance of impressive young pitching prospects who are ready to join a rotation that is already projected to include both Mike Minor and Brandon Beachy. But questions still surrounding Tommy Hanson’s shoulder, it might be in the Braves’ best interest to keep Jurrjens.
Prado has also drawn attention from the Rockies, Royals and a number of other clubs who like the versatility he could provide. But with Chipper Jones approaching his 40th birthday and needing regular rest during the season, it might also be in the Braves’ best interest to keep Prado, who is very capable of handling third base whenever necessary.
Because Jurrjens and Prado are set to make somewhere in the neighborhood of $5 million via arbitration this year, the Braves could certainly gain some financial flexibility by moving either of these players. But Wren has said he has the financial resources available to satisfy all of his offseason needs without having to make a trade.
As the GM meetings opened this week, there was a rumor that the Braves might be willing to trade Prado to the Tigers for Delmon Young and possibly another prospect. This was quickly debunked. The Braves have shown little interest in Young in the past and they are seemingly looking for much more in return for Prado.
- Mark Bowman
The Braves have acquired center fielder Michael Bourn from the Astros in exchange for Jordan Schafer and three Minor League pitchers – left-hander Brett Oberholtzer and right-handersPaul Clemens and Juan Abreu.
Bourn will play center field and bat leadoff for the Braves for the remainder of the season. He has hit .303 with a .363 on-base percentage and 39 stolen base attempts in 105 games for the Astros this year.
“Michael Bourn is a perfect fit for our club, which focuses on speed and defense to match up with our strong pitching,” Braves general manager Frank Wren said. “This trade gives us the first true leadoff hitter we’ve had in a number of years.”
Once Schafer and Nate McLouth went on the disabled list this past week, the Braves’ began searching for a center fielder. The 28-year-old Bourn has one more arbitration-eligible season remaining and could make somewhere in the neighborhood of $7 million next year.
Schafer spent most of the past two months as Atlanta’s starting center fielder. Once considered the organization’s top prospect, he has missed time the past three years due to suspension and a left wrist injury.
Clemens has established himself as a strong prospect while going 6-5 with a 3.73 ERA in 20 starts for Double-A Mississippi this year. Oberholtzer gained attention during Spring Training and has posted a 3.74 ERA in 21 starts for Mississippi.
Abreu is a strong-armed right-handed reliever who recorded 68 strikeouts in 48 innings for Triple-A Gwinnett this year. – Mark Bowman
The Braves could add a center fielder in the form of B.J. Upton or Michael Bourn before today’s 4 p.m. ET Trade Deadline. There is also a chance they could welcome Omar Infante back to their clubhouse and enhance their bullpen depth with the acquisition of a right-handed reliever.
Before placing their two centerfielders Nate McLouth and Jordan Schafer on the disabled list this week, the Braves were looking for a right-handed hitter who could play each of the outfield positions. This was something the versatile Infante provided them before they traded him to the Marlins in exchange for played for Dan Uggla in November.
With the Marlins currently in Atlanta preparing to wrap up a three-game series, Infante could change clubhouses before the end of the day. Multiple Major League sources said the Braves and Marlins have had multiple conversations regarding Infante.
The Braves have also had multiple conversations with the Rays over the past couple weeks about Upton, who like Bourn, could play center and serve as their leadoff hitter for the remainder of the season.
Hitting .304 with a .364 on-base percentage and 39 stolen bases, Bourn provides more certainty than Upton, who has hit .228 with a .310 on-base percentage, 16 homers and 23 stolen bases.
But the Braves would likely have to give up more to get Bourn than they would to add Upton. – Mark Bowman
Now that the Giants have Carlos Beltran and the Phillies have Hunter Pence how will the Braves answer? While they might not make an acquisition that creates as much attention as Beltran and Pence, it seems quite certain they will add an outfielder before Sunday’s 4 p.m. ET Trade Deadline.
When this week began, it seemed more likely that the Braves would add a right-handed hitting corner outfielder. Their focus has widened since they put two centerfielders — Jordan Schafer and Nate McLouth – and All-Star catcher Brian McCann on the disabled list this week.
The Braves’ wish list now includes the Rays’ B.J. Upton, the A’s Coco Crisp and the Astros’ Michael Bourn. Each could play center and bat leadoff.
While the Braves and Astros have briefly discussed Bourn, it doesn’t sound like those talks have progressed past the preliminary stage. With Crisp, the Braves have some concerns about his ability to stay healthy.
The Braves have continued to show interest in Upton, but it does not seem they are willing to get him in exchange for any of their top four pitching prospects – Julio Teheran, Randall Delgado, Arodys Vizcaino and Mike Minor.
Because the Braves have a surplus of young pitching talent in their organization, fans and even some of their players (off the record) have questioned why they are not willing to deal Minor or some of their other pitching prospects.
The Braves showed some late interest in Pence but were never interested in him enough to use any of their pitching prospects to acquire him. The Astros asked the Braves for two of their top pitching prospects in exchange for the outfielder.
The Braves were much more interested in Beltran than they were in Pence. But they were not willing to part with their pitching prospects to simply have him in their outfield for two months. — Mark Bowman
The Braves have placed two centerfielders — Jordan Schafer and Nate McLouth — and All-Star catcher Brian McCann on the disabled list this week. But with this year’s Trade Deadline just 48 hours away, Braves general manager Frank Wren said his focus has not changed.
After McLouth was disabled with a lower abdominal strain Friday afternoon, the Braves promoted Jose Constanza from Triple-A Gwinnett, put him on their 40-man roster and then put him in the leadoff spot for Friday night’s game against the Marlins.
“We’ve been looking for an outfielder and we’re still looking for an outfielder,” Wren said. “It really doesn’t change anything. We’re going to be thin for a while until some of these guys come back from injury. We know that and it really doesn’t change anything.”
While there has been speculation the Braves and Phillies have been in a bidding war for Astros’ outfielder Hunter Pence, a Major League source said Friday that the Braves have not considered Pence to be a priority.
The Braves did inquire about Pence and also to see if the White Sox were interested in trading Carlos Quentin. But it seems they are more likely to acquire Rays’ outfielder B.J. Upton or Padres’ outfielder Ryan Ludwick before Sunday’s 4 p.m. ET deadline arrives.
Upton could serve as the club’s leadoff hitter and starting centerfielder. But even with Schafer and McLouth sidelined, they may still target Ludwick, who would primarily play the corner outfield positions. But he is athletic enough to play center field if necessary. – Mark Bowman