Posted: 9:01 am Thursday, July 31st, 2014

Trade deadline day … and it’s quiet here (update: minor trade) 

By Jeff Schultz

Trying to picture David Price in a Braves' uniform? Don't waste your time. (AP)

Trying to picture David Price in a Braves’ uniform? Don’t waste your time. (AP)

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
117 comments
ThomasBrownUGA
ThomasBrownUGA

Liberty Media does not let us have STARS on the Braves' team.

cvan32802
cvan32802

I think you are absolutely right. The Braves, to their credit, didn't make any stupid moves to try to salvage this season.   As you point out, they failed to excel against the mediocre July competition and are now get their arse handed to them on a brutal August schedule.    Unfortunately, the finiancial problems that prevented the Braves from making a any moves won't go away -- we're still stuck with the Uggla/BJ financial lodestone that will prevent much from happening for at least the end of 2015.    I believe there needs to be some accountability -- fire  Wren -- the Uggla/BJ trades haven't worked out -- if a manager had a record like that he would be gone.   Which leads me to the field staff -- for the past two seasons under Fredi the Braves can't hit -- they have changed hitting coaches, yada yada yada but despite some pretty talented players we're near the last in the league in hitting.   Too much nice guy soft shoe and not a lot of toughness, which is this organization's mantra.   The only thing we will be celebrating the next couple of years is HOF inductions of past stars.   


Unless there is a complete housecleaning of the front office and the field staff, there are a lot of lean years ahead.

satchel
satchel

mr. schultz:  who is responsible for the decision to keep playing bj upton?  fredi or frank?  or both?  and whose decision was it to stick with uggla for so long?  FG said today that the players need to be accountable.  after the last 3 years of uggla & bj upton, i'd like some accountability from the manager and front office. 

scottarino
scottarino

It really shouldn't take too much to put this team over the top. Another arm, a decent bat....but that's not taking into account Fredi's poor managing of the talent. To be completely fair Liberty Media should be a never ending nightmare to Braves fans. Time-Warner, Liberty Media, it's two sides of the same coin...vacant ownership. That's why the team is never prepared for the post season. They blow their entire nut in the off season to build their team, then claim to have no more money left for important mid-season changes that ALWAYS have to be made. That's why the corporate owned Braves always peter-out in October. Other teams improve, the Braves stand pat.  The Time-Warner owned 1999 Braves that actually made it to the WS with glaring needs (if it weren't for Chipper Jones carrying the team through august and sept they would have faded.) made the one weak move to add a worn out Stan Belinda to the bullpen. The 1996 corporate-owned Braves made to the WS, but they were still riding on Ted Turner's work. This team is nothing more than a line on a corporate balance sheet, a tax write-off, an investment for the shareholders of Liberty Media, nothing more. If you want to hurt Liberty Media, stay at home. As long as the team makes their projected profits, things will remain as they are now. Liberty Media doesn't need to win a WS to be successful, so they don't need to try. If you doubt this, try and imagine the New York Yankees with Glavine, Maddux, and Smoltz only winning one WS during that staff's life-span together. It wouldn't have happened. Heck, it wouldn't have happened if Turner kept the Braves. Yes Wren is a fool, and Fredi is a less that good manager, but don't forget to throw a heaping helping of blame to the empty suits who own this team. 

satchel
satchel

the question at this point:  do we try and win or do we continue appeasing BJ Upton's ego?

Mr. Negative
Mr. Negative

Whoohoo. Guess Frank put some cheap lipstick on this pig of his. 5 in a row, baby. Mr Negative is planning a week long grillathon for the LA and Oakland series. That week should send the Boobtrain well on its way down the mountain.

Chris11165
Chris11165

Its painful watching these guys play some nights with this offense. Im in the mindset we may need a full house cleaning take a year to get the living hell beat out of us as we did a lot of in the 70s and 80s and hope that someone upstairs goes out and gets ball players who can actually hit pitch and catch. The only silver lining in the team's status is that the Nats don't seem to want to take off either and to be just 1.5 games out after a 4 game losing streak we should all be dancing to the baseball gods.....as much as I was thrilled when we brought Justin and BJ here its clear that the Upton boys are not the answer. Id hate to see Jason H play somewhere else but we need an overhaul top to bottom and those are some pieces we need to move including Chris Johnson. 

Wilbo
Wilbo

Braves get hammered, but the goofball Nats, who don't have much more crunch time courage than the pathetic Braves lose as well. 


Do the Nats just not want o shove the Braves down into the nether regions of the NL East, or are they like the Braves-- totally unable to muster the guts to win when it really counts?

sea8491
sea8491

Jeff, the answer is so obvious.  Money to invest.


To move the braves forward with the objective to win another World championship, Braves fans must hope and pray that Liberty Media no longer has tax advantages owning the braves and they sell the team to someone or a group who wants to win.


Pray for the sale of the braves, the new owners would not keep the two dopes Wren and Freddy G.


Just curious, Jeff, hasn't Wren had too many bad free agent signings?  I can only think that  Rueben Amaro, Jr. is worse than Frankie Wren?


Jeff, I would bet you?



RangeRover
RangeRover

Wren & Gonzalez = Dumb & Dumber...make that Dumbest for Gonzalez.

Thread ended...

MilwaukeeBraves
MilwaukeeBraves

Wren has done a good thing … now will Gonzales to a good thing regarding playing time in CF and batting leadoff?

Emilio Bonifacio

PA - 298

SO - 49 (16%)

BA - .279

OBP - .318

BJ Upton

PA - 442

SO - 135 (31%)

BA - .218

OBP - .284

reckingball
reckingball

Well, the truth is that this team can compete, please do look at what happened in LA, the Braves  still had a chance to win the 2nd and 3rd games right up to the end, and they were still there until the 7th inning in the 1st game. And they were playing against the best team (on paper) in the NL. 

Wren has made some mistakes, but he has done a good job in building a team that is still in the hunt to (at least) get into the playoffs, for the past 4 years. There are plenty of cities that would love to have a team like the Braves.

I wish that Shultz and all of his disciples could go back in time, and suffer through the Atlanta Braves of the 70s and most of the 80s.

Stop the whining.

MichBravesFan
MichBravesFan

This team is just poorly put together, we have a bunch of dreadful players: i.e. Doumit, Schafer, Pena, Laird, BJ, and the middle of the lineup bats---J-Upton is horribly inconsistent. Gattis and Freeman are ok and LaStella is a nice player. They need to clean house. Trade J-Upton and Chris Johnson in the offseason, get rid of BJ even if we have to eat 90% of his contract and play Bonafacio in CF until we find a long-term guy there, then please get rid of the entire bench, Doumit, Schafer, Pena and Laird. Start all over there. Have Bethancourt be the catcher and trade Gattis in the offseason to an AL team where he can DH, for a good outfielder. This team cannot compete, look what just happened in LA. 

Boeingdawg
Boeingdawg

The team is chock full of mediocre players, with no leader among them. Freeman is the closest thing to a genuine star and he is inconsistent this year. The team is extremely young top to bottom, maybe next year will see some improvement. Not a bad team, just not able to compete with the Dodgers, Cards, Giants, etc...

Also, we desperately need a local, monied owner.

JAS0N
JAS0N

Really excited that we brought back Jordan Schafer.  This guy is a born baseball player and competes at the highest level every night.  


Without his competitive drive, I'm not sure where this team would be.

slydawg
slydawg

Yyyaawwwnnnnn!!!!!! The Braves traded for who? Not one player who can help them win a championship.

candlin14
candlin14

Exactly why this team cant compete.. Why is every sports team in Atlanta so painful to watch not to mention UGA.... Coach Mark Richt, Freddie Gonzalez, Mike Smith, and Budenholzer can all go play in rush hour traffic together. Frank Wren and Thomas Dimitrioff can join them!!! My god ATL, stop chocking in every single sport... All of my teams are like a drug, they get me so hyped in the beginning but in the end all im left with is DEPRESSION!!

Kwajbraves
Kwajbraves

Friedman just got fleeced

on the Price deal.  We could give him more for Price.

Kwajbraves
Kwajbraves

Russell and Bonifacio to the Braves. Here is your move.


iBalling
iBalling

Wren was at the nursing home looking for some available players! Granted, he only needs somebody who can swing a bat and strikeout.

jschultz
jschultz moderator

Price to the Tigers, according to reports.

Christ-mas
Christ-mas

Wait till next.....well you know.


No deals....no offense....no strong relievers besides Kimbrel...No Hope!


Thanks Braves front office...

SaveAmericaFromItself
SaveAmericaFromItself

Uggla may be available. He's 0 for 11 as a Giant, with 6 strikeouts and 3 errors in the field, his season average is a deceiving .149


He's great in the clubhouse.



foxdog
foxdog

Wren as Nero is playing his fiddle...

gfw
gfw

"Remember, starting pitching hasn’t been the problem. But I’ll get into that more later."

That should be a short article:  "We are a poor hitting team.  And, with 1-2 exceptions, our pitchers can neither be taught to bunt, nor learn how to do so through experience."

GeorgeJetsen
GeorgeJetsen

For 12 years and counting, the Braves are exactly who we thought they were: decent teams with no shot at greatness.  Braves ownership and management seem to agree as they market the teams as potential division winners and never anything more.  In the end the Braves will never be a WS caliber team under corporate ownership and fans are better to accept that now and avoid the annual disappointments.

Kwajbraves
Kwajbraves

miller is off the board too.  I think that FW is standing pat this time. 

slydawg
slydawg

Neither one is going to take this team to another level. Period. End of story

RBI
RBI

@reckingball Amen, Brother!  You stated it well.

Frank Wren made another good move by trading for the bullpen Lefty the team needed, plus a quality Utility player who happens to be able to bat leadoff and steal bases, for the low price of a Low-A catcher/3b with potential (that fancy French word for "You ain't done nothing, yet").


Unfortunately, on this site no matter what any Atlanta team does, the trolls and haters come out in force to vent and complain.  Apparently that is what makes them feel validated and worthwhile.  But, the same people would have vented and complained had Wren done nothing, so there is no way to please them.  It looks like they are only happy when they complain and whine.


God bless them all.

slydawg
slydawg

Who is your weedman bro?

RBI
RBI

@MichBravesFan HELLO!  You need some basic English lessons.  "can't compete", REALLY!


Apparently you have not noticed the Braves have been in 1st place in our Division most of this season and are only a game and a half out of first currently.  That is the VERY definition of competing!


It's bad enough that the trolls and haters can not help but whine about every move, but at least get your facts straight... or learn English.

slydawg
slydawg

I slightly disagree. The Braves are a well put together team, just not championship level. I know hitting is the problem but Miguel Cabrera isn't walking through that door. They should have made the deal for Price and Smardja last fall. And offered Price the same money plus a little extra change that they gave Freeman. Instead, they chose to play the "baseball economics" game.

Rick_C
Rick_C

@MichBravesFan They can't compete?  Dodgers were the better team, but the Braves just lost two one run games against their top two starters.  Both could have just as easily gone the Braves' way on another day.

DavidinVirginia
DavidinVirginia

@Kwajbraves From your keyboard to the baseball gods' ears! LOL Actually, a non-traditional platoon with Bonifacio playing CF against lefties and BJ vs. righties would work since BJ is even more horrid against lefties this year than he is overall. IF Fredi turns out to be smart enough to use him that way. If I had to bet on it, I'd bet that he'll end up playing mostly at 2b since that would be the single dumbest way to use him.

DavidinVirginia
DavidinVirginia

@Kwajbraves Agreed. I kept waiting for more player names going to TB and there weren't any. Jeez. And looks like the Mariners finally made a good deal. Wasn't sure I'd see that happen in my lifetime either.

Wilbo
Wilbo

@reckingball


Buddy, it is losers like you that have made the last 2 decades of postseason embarrassment possible. Being close to winning and then losing does not mean jack. Well, it does mean something when you have a very long, very firmly established pattern of touching the brass ring and then falling flat on your face. It means you are weak willed, gutless heartless poohbutts, and that means the team, the management, the ownership, and the fans like you who accept and excuse the year after year after year after year pathetic performance of the Atlanta Braves in crunch time. And, sonny boy, you are dead wrong about other cities being happy to have a team of cowardly regular season tough guys who choke like sick dogs when the chips are down in October. They would be booed off the field. Peepee on the Atlanta Braves and peepee on the people like you who excuse and justify those pathetic losers.

slydawg
slydawg

@RBI @reckingball As long as losers like you are okay, I can sleep well at night. God takes care of women, children, and the weak. May God Bless the helpless, such as yourself.....

reckingball
reckingball

@slydawg @RBI @reckingball

If whining, crying, and belly-aching about a baseball team makes you strong, than I suppose you are one heck of a strong man.

Keep on whining, my friend.

slydawg
slydawg

There is whining and there are facts. Look at tonight's game, loser. This is what happens when you don't at least try to be great. What makes me strong, punk, is demanding that I, those around me, and the team's I root for compete to be the best at all times and not just put on a uniform. You accept being average and I can accept that. You can't accept me for wanting to win and you call me a whiner. Here's an analogy for you: Show me a sore loser and I'll show you a winner. A champion. Now go back into your little cave until you see the Batman symbol.

reckingball
reckingball

@slydawg

Well strong man,... you're complaining isn't getting what you want, but you and you're buddy Wilbo keep on with your stupid rants, and see if anything ever changes.

Keep on whining,tough guy.