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Halloween Links: Sickels, Ohman, Smoltz, Peavy

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Happy Halloween to everybody. I'm working on the Chop-n-Change post-season top 20 prospects list right now. It is tentatively scheduled to be up this Sunday but depending on the outcome of the UCONN-WVU game this weekend, myself and the rest of the UCONN campus may be incapacitated  for the entire weekend. In the meantime, I've got some links.

  • John Sickels of minorleagueball.com put out his Braves top 20 list a little while ago. Sickels' site is one of the best out there if you have any interest in prospects so check it out. As far as the list, he rates 13 of Atlanta's prospects with grades in the B-range or higher (that's very impressive), as well as a number of C+ prospects with very high potential. Braves fans are used to having a steady flow of talent from the farm and it is no different this year as Atlanta's system is arguably the deepest in baseball.
  • In a conversation with Dave O'Brien of the AJC, reliever Will Ohman reiterated that he wants to stay in Atlanta. Ohman, who filed for free agency along with Greg Norton and Julian Tavarez, was one of Bobby Cox's most trusted relievers during this past season but the market will probably decide Ohman's fate. Under John Schuerholz, the Braves pieced together inexpensive bullpens and even though Schuerholz is no longer the GM, I can't see the Braves offering a deal of more than $3 million a year for three years (and even that may be a stretch). If Ohman isn't brought back, I could see a guy like Jo-Jo Reyes shifting into the LOOGY role in the pen.
  • Frank Wren has talked to every team about his needs this off-season according to Mark Bowman of MLB.com. The winter meetings are approaching and Wren says that more preparatory work is being done around baseball in anticipation of greater activity at the meetings than in recent years.
  • Dave O'Brien says that John Smoltz has not changed his mind and still wishes to pitch in Atlanta if he can recover from shoulder surgery. The right-hander is currently rehabbing and will discuss a contract with the Braves only after he decides whether his health will permit him to pitch again. If he does come back, it seems very unlikely that he'd play somehwere else. The real question would be whether he pitches out of the bullpen or as a starter.
  • Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports says that the Braves and Padres are at an "impasse" in negotiations for a potential Jake Peavy trade. The Braves were considered heavy favorites to land the ace right-hander because of their farm system, but with Frank Wren's unwillingness to trade a number of the team's best prospects, the Braves may be no more of a fit than any of the other teams currently making a run at Peavy. This trade seems very unlikely at this point but a lot can change at the winter meetings.

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