The Braves are frustratingly 3 and 1/2 games out of first place behind the Mets, and the bullpen woes are preventing the seemingly helpless Braves from being in first place by a few games. Atlanta has lost multiple 3+ run leads over the past few weeks. If the pen could lock these down, they would be IN first by a couple of games. The Marlins and Nationals were predicted to fight it out for the NL East Crown, but this “rebuilding” Atlanta squad has moved into contention and has a real possibility of making the playoffs. Here are a couple of midseason trades that could put them over the top:
Rio Ruiz and Kelly Johnson for Charlie Furbush (Seattle Mariners)
This is the most realistic trade on this list. Furbush is a lefty with a 1.20 ERA with a whip of 0.67 over 15 IPs for the M’s this year. Rio Ruiz is still considered a “top prospect” within the Braves organization. The anemic Seattle offense HAS to be looking for bats. Kelly Johnson has posted a .270 Batting average with 6 homers and 3 doubles. He’s only struck out 15 times in 89 ABs, and his 19 RBIs are also impressive. Ruiz has been hot of late, but is batting .213 with no home runs in AA Mississippi. I think we need to cut our losses with him and send him off while he is still considered a “work in progress”, and trade Kelly Johnson before his numbers come down. Todd Cunningham has shown that he deserves an everyday spot in left field until we have a chance to go after Alex Gordon in free agency.
Cash, Lucas Sims, Cody Martin, Cameron Maybin, and Matt Lipka for AJ Pollock (Arizona Diamondbacks)
Many were joking around that during the draft Arizona’s GM Dave Stewart would swap Dansby Swanson for a dumpster of sand because the sand has “a lot of grit”. The Diamondbacks are notorious for bad trades, and this could add to the list. Cody Martin has shown flashes of potential that he could be a solid MLB starter, but his inconsistency has caused him to bounce from Gwinnett and Atlanta. Lipka is very unlikely to ever advance to the show even though he is batting .278 in Mississippi, and Maybin’s hot streak has gotten a lot of attention around the league. He also leads the league in batting average with runners in scoring position. Now, on to Sims. In my opinion, the Lucas Sims experiment is over. His ERA in Lynchburg was 4.19 in 2014, and is now 5.20 in Class A Carolina. He, like Ruiz, needs to be shipped off before GMs realize what he’s worth. The 19-year-old former first round pick lacks experience, and now confidence. Now, Pollock may be the best kept secret in all of Major League Baseball. He is batting .323 (Good for 10th in the Majors) with 8 HRs and 28 RBIs. AJ Pollock is also a restricted free agent until 2019, and his current salary is $520k. He’s 27, Maybin is 28, so we aren’t giving up youth in this deal either. Mallex Smith is coming, and with one of them rotating to left field, they may leave Braves fans saying “Alex Gordon who?”
Note: If this trade doesn’t happen, I will be more than happy to extend Cameron Maybin.
Chris Johnson, Julio Teheran, Joey Terdoslavich, Jose Peraza and Lucas Sims for Cash, Josh Donaldson and Mark Buehrle (Toronto Blue Jays)
Alright hear me out, before you click off of this article and assume I’ve lost my mind, think about this deal for a second. The Jays are NOTORIOUS for blockbuster deals that make little sense for their organization. Their pitching is nothing short of gaudy. Yes, Julio Teheran is a fan favorite, but look at his dismal numbers this year; 4-2 with a 4.78 ERA. Fredi Gonzalez has even said he is “worried” that his 2 seam fastball has lost command. His slider also isn’t biting like it used to. We have plenty of Starters like Matt Wisler, Tyrell Jenkins, and Manny Banuelos on the up and coming. Jose Peraza is our top prospect at 2B, but Jace and Simba have the middle infield locked down. Joey Terdoslavich could be a nice starting outfielder; key word is COULD. Chris Johnson is a solid everyday third baseman that will give you consistent numbers. I already discussed the end of the Sims experiment in Atlanta. Most of you are probably asking “Why Buehrle?” Well, if you’ve paid attention to the work AJ Pierzynski has done this year, you’d understand way. He would be there to fill a rotation spot of course, and also mentor Alex Wood, Folty, Wisler, Banuelos, Jenkins, and even Shelby Miller. The guy has a no hitter and a perfect game to his credit, and some used to consider him the best pitcher in the league. Now; let’s get to the big fish. Josh Donaldson is our answer to Giancarlo Stanton and Bryce Harper. He’s batting .322 (12th in the Majors) in 2015 with 17 Homers (T-6th in the Majors) and 45 RBIs (T-5th in the Majors). This guy EATS right handers. He is also a restricted free agent until 2018, which gives the Braves control of his contract status. We also need someone to protect Freddie Freeman and Markakis in the middle of the order. He can provide the threat that Mark Teixeira did, but he will be with us for longer than a year and a half. Do you guys want to start the MVP chants, or should I?
Note: If Williams Perez would sweeten the deal, include him too. I would just ask for another starter in return with a low salary.