I started to go through the Braves roster on Sunday, because I knew that if they didn’t beat the Giants, the Phillies would have swept them in the NLCS. I wanted to take a look at it, position by position. I wanted to see our options into getting the outfield bat that we desperately need. It was VERY noticable in the NLDS…hence the scores of 1-0, 5-4, 3-2,3-2 and a 0.175 B.A. against the Giant pitchers. It was the major weakness of this year’s team, but Wren went and traded for Ankiel and Farnsworth (the combo that won Game 2 for the Braves). And with this year’s offseason, the need is still there.
There is bad news and good news for this situation, depending on how you look at it.
The Bad news: There is no way that Liberty Mutual will afford Carl Crawford. He would be sick at the top of the Braves lineup, but it won’t happen.
The Good News: We have the pitching depth to use as trade bait. As Jeff Schultz at AJC mentions, Jair Jurrjens might be the best bait the Braves have.
Unless Wren is willing to deal touted prospects, something he’s generally been averse to, that means he’ll either have to shop for low-budget free agents again or deal from his position of strength: starting pitching. Jurrjens is only 24 but his long-term future in Atlanta is uncertain, given that his agent is Scott Boras. Jurrjens also struggled this season with a hamstring and knee injuries. He dropped from 34 starts, 25 quality starts (allowing three or fewer earned runs in six or more innings), a 14-10 record and a 2.60 ERA in 2009 to 20 starts, 10 quality starts, 7-6 and a 4.64 ERA this season
But of all the Braves’ tradable assets, Jurrjens is the most likely to fetch something decent in return. It’s either that or fill available starting jobs in left and center field on the cheap again.
The Braves can’t afford to field a competitve team with a patchwork OF and expect to get past the NLDS, regardless of the matchup. Back when we got Jurrjens from Detriot for SS Edgar Renteria, I thought it was a stupid move. Renteria was and still is a player (how about that bunt he laid down on Glaus and Wagner in Game 2??). If it helps bolster the lineup…so what? Let’s do it!
Looking through the comments on Schultz’s post, one idea I really like is McClouth and Jurrjens to the D-backs for OF Chris Young. That is, if Arizona will take McClouth off our hands.
Enjoy that fresh smell Braves fans, because after the World Series it will get sour with speculation.