Pierzynski came to the Braves this offseason on a 1-year deal to be the backup catcher. But with Bethancourt struggling, A.J. took over the starting duties. He has put together a very solid year thus far, batting .282 with 6 home runs and 30 RBI. Pierzynski is in his 17th year of his career and will probably be asked to come off the bench for another team, but definitely has value in his bat and experience. Friday’s trade of Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe shows the Braves are looking towards the future. Even though Pierzynski’s veteran leadership has done wonders for the Braves pitching staff, he will likely be moved before the deadline. The Braves still view Bethancourt as the possible catcher of the future, so he will likely be called back up to the majors and see a lot of playing time. The Twins and Mariners are teams that has been linked to A.J.
Not too many Braves fans are going to lose sleep if Gomes is traded at the deadline. Gomes is another veteran that came to the Braves this offseason on a 1-year deal. Gomes was expected to provide veteran leadership and a nice bat off the bench for the Braves. While he has been a wonderful locker room presence for the Braves, his bat has really struggled all season. He is hitting a mere .197 at the plate this year. Teams will not give up much to acquire Gomes, but some team will give up something, and that is probably all it will take to pry Gomes away from the Braves. He has been involved in numerous playoff runs the past several years and has had some big hits. He can hit lefties well and his veteran leadership is undeniable. He has value to a competing ball club and might be heading elsewhere prior to the deadline.
With Juan Uribe now out of the picture, the Braves will likely be showcasing Chris Johnson at third base, hoping that another team will trade for him. The Braves have been trying to shop the third baseman all season, and Johnson has voiced that he wants to be traded. Chris Johnson is two years removed from a season in which he hit .321. That season earned him a 3-year, $23.5 million dollar contract extension, a deal that the Braves mightily regret today. Johnson’s numbers and attitude have gone down ever since, and Fredi Gonzalez has opted not to play Johnson very often this season. He is only hitting .244 with 1 home run and 9 RBIs, but the numbers would likely be better if he had been playing. At this point, the Braves would give away Johnson to anyone who would take his contract.
Something very few people imagined 4 months ago: Cameron Maybin could be the centerpiece of a blockbuster deal at the trade deadline. After being a highly touted prospect, Maybin did not pan out in the big leagues. That is until he got to the Braves organization. With the Braves in the midst of a major rebuilding transition, Maybin was able to get a lot of playing time, and he has excelled. Maybin is currently hitting .283 with 8 home runs and 46 RBIs, as well as stealing 16 bases and playing Gold Glove defense. He is in the middle of the best year of his career by far and received a lot of All-Star consideration. Maybin is under team control through 2017, so there is no rush to move Maybin, but this will probably be the highest his trade value will ever be. With the team looking towards the future, Maybin could be the next Brave heading to another team.
Jim Johnson is in the middle of a major comeback season. Coming off a season in which he registered a 7.09 ERA, Johnson has been the Braves’ most consistent reliever all season besides Jason Grilli. With Grilli’s injury, Johnson took over the closing role for the Braves. He spent time closing with the Orioles in 2012 and 2013 and compiled 101 saves. He has a lot of value as a possible closer or alternate relief option for a competing team. Johnson is another veteran on a 1-year deal and is clearly not in the Braves’ future plans. He will likely be on his way out the door prior to the trade deadline.