Posted: 9:01 am Thursday, July 31st, 2014
By Jeff Schultz
UPDATE: As you probably know by now, the Braves made a minor trade, dealing catching prospect Victor Caratini to the Chicago Cubs for utilityman Emilio Bonifacio and left-handed reliever James Russell. It was exactly the kind of deal that general manager Frank Wren was expected to make, but I’m not sure it’s going to be enough to get the Braves to the postseason because of fundamental flaws on the roster and in the clubhouse. I wrote a full column on this topic over at MyAJC.com. Here’s a free link. Thanks, J
Good morning. The major league trade deadline is at 4 p.m. today and I wrote in a column on MyAJC.com — you can find a free link here — that I don’t expect the Braves to do anything of significance.
The reason is pure economics: They were forced to blow their budget before the season even started by signing pitcher Ervin Santana for $14.1 million (in hopes of making up for the losses of Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy) and are paying the released Dan Uggla more than $18 million (including $5 million this season) to NOT play for them.
So fantasies about the team getting into the potential traded bidding for impending free agent pitchers David Price (Tampa Bay) and Jon Lester (Boston) are just that: fantasies. More likely, general manager Frank Wren is seeking a reliever and/or a bench player, either of whom would be a low level and inexpensive move.
UPDATE (9:50 a.m.): Boston traded Lester and Jonny Gomes to the Oakland A’s for outfielder Yoenis Cespedes.
Would this be enough to get the Braves over the top? I don’t think so.
I’ll get into this more in a full column after the deadline but the Braves don’t seem to have great chemistry, nor do they project as a team that’s going to make a great run. If they suddenly get hot, win the National League East and storm into October – great. But right now I just see a team that scrambled to go 6-5 on a homestand after the All-Star break against three mediocre teams (Philadelphia, Miami, San Diego) and is 41-43 since a 17-7 start. Their best hope in the East probably is that they trail Washington by only 1½ games because the Nationals also haven’t taken off yet.
What should be expected of the Braves? What should the ramifications be if they don’t make the playoffs? Should more have been expected from them even with the Medlen and Beachy injuries? I think so. Remember, starting pitching hasn’t been the problem. But I’ll get into that more later.
For now, what are your thoughts about this team moving forward?
•Some recent ramblings (free links)
– MyAJC: Braves hamstrung by finances at trade deadline – Blog: Urban Meyer gets it wrong on Tim Tebow – MyAJC: Braves’ best postseason hope is starting pitching – MyAJC: Steven Jackson: ‘I kind of believed my own hype’ – Blog: Poll: Falcons open camp, what’s your playoff pick? – MyAJC: Falcons open with more questions than buzz – MyAJC: Georgia still recruiting too many of wrong kids – Blog: Giants take a chance on Dan Uggla – Blog: June Jones whiffs on spring football idea – MyAJC: Back to reality: Payne a nice pick for Hawks – MyAJC: Hawks’ quest: LeBron, Carmelo or anybody elite
About the Author
Sports blogger and columnist Jeff Schultz has been with the Atlanta-Journal-Constitution since 1989. He has been honored several times by the Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE), National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association (NSSA) and several other organizations.