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molony-on-glavine-center-field | November | 2007 Articles

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Molony on Glavine, Center Field

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Jim Molony of MLB.com mentioned both the Braves interest in free agent left-hander Tom Glavine and the possibility of acquiring center fielder Rocco Baldelli from the Tampa Bay Rays (That still feels a little weird to say) in his latest article. Molony says that multiple Braves sources expect Glavine to wait for about a week and then announce he'll play for Atlanta next year. The free agent signing period doesn't start until midnight tonight so the two parties haven't discussed financial terms yet, however Molony says the Braves will offer a one-year deal worth $8-9 million along with a mutual '09 option. He's been connected to some other teams, most notably the Nationals, so I'd think another team would have to make a jaw-dropping offer to lure him away. This should very much solidify our one-three spots and you'd have to think Bobby Cox could get at the very least league average production out of Mike Hampton, Chuck James, Jair Jurrjens, and the rest of the less notable starters the Braves have. The second part of his Braves bits is his comentary on Atlanta's center field situation for next year.
As for their other need, in center field with the departure of Jones, the Braves remain high on internal candidate Brent Lillibridge and have said there is an outside chance they could use him as their center fielder next year if they're not able to find Jones' replacement via the trade market. Last year, the Braves attempted to land the Rays' Rocco Baldelli. With Baldelli having missed most of the 2007 season and consequently enhancing his status as a health risk, the Braves would likely need the Rays to include one of their other young outfielders in the deal. Last week, the St. Petersburg Times listed Lillibridge as one of the prospects the Rays may target to fill their need for a shortstop.
If he is suggesting that the Braves could land Baldelli as well as another young outfielder for Brent Lillibridge, count me in but a bit skeptical. I realize that Lillibridge was not his suggestion, but the team seems quite confident in Reid Brignac even after a weak season this past year. After all, he is still considered one of the best, if not the best shortstop prospect. The second issue, is which outfielder he seems to be implying with this. Obviously Upton, Young, and Crawford are well past the value of Lillibridge alone, much less combined with Baldelli and the outfield is not exactly the strongest position in their farm system and the Braves certainly won't even consider an acquisition of Elijah Dukes. Count me as one of the surprised if anything like that happens.
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