reporting that many teams including the Braves, sent scouts to Tuesday's Reds-Angels game in Cincinnati.It's this time of year again. Right around the time where rumors and speculation start flying. If you haven't already heard, the Dayton Daily News is
But the pregame pressbox was stuffed with scouts from Atlanta, Houston, Los Angeles, Chicago (White Sox), Detroit and others.Most of the mentioned teams have been connected to Adam Dunn through either speculation or reports. Not the case for the Braves. Now I know that while some of our commenters will jump directly to Ken Griffey Jr. after hearing this, he also doesn't make sense for the Braves with the Diaz/Harris platoon hitting right around .400 since Harris was called up as well as playing superior defense to what Griffey could provide at a much more reasonable cost. No, if we want to get at the more likely scenario, we have to look at the pitching matchup. Kelvim Escobar vs. Bronson Arroyo. The Angels are looking for a big bat again so Andruw Jones seems like the best fit, but comments made by both Jones and super-agent Scott Boras have almost certainly nixed any notion of trading the centerfielder. That knocks out Escobar. On to Bronson Arroyo. Arroyo has stumbled in his first 14 starts this season after having a career year last year for the Reds (14-11, 3.29 ERA). No one expected him to repeat that performance but a 4.98 ERA wasn't either. Go into his stats a little further and you see that a one BB/9 IP increase as well as a 5-7% decrease off his career norm groundball rate and a BABIP of .325 are to blame. All of those are probably fluky numbers considering what he has done in his career, so that ERA should come down. Take away a pretty bad infield defense (Brandon Phillips is the only plus defender and Edwin Encarnacion makes Miguel Cabrera look like a gold glover) as well as the small confines of Great American Ballpark and an ERA around 3.80-4.00 is perfectly reasonable as that BABIP starts to level out. Would the Braves be interested? Arroyo is 30 years old and signed to a very team-friendly deal through 2010 with a club option for 2011. The right hander is making $3.8 million this year and $3.95 million next year and after his extension kicks in for the 2009 season, he will make $9.5 million in 2009 and $11 million in 2010 as well as the option for the same amount ($2 million buyout) in 2011. This makes him very reasonably priced as a guy who can win 14+ games annually and eat up innings in the middle of a rotation. What could be really nice about this, is that Schuerholz might not have to move Jarrod Saltalamacchia (although this is the exact type of player that he could go into a deal for). Wayne Krivsky, the Reds GM has focused on pitching more than anything in the past, both in the pen and the rotation. Would a package of Yunel Escobar, Jo-Jo Reyes, and lower level minor leaguer do the trick? I would certainly be willing to try.