Monday was a pretty slow news day for the Braves as they waited to hear whether or not Rafael Soriano would accept arbitration. But now things are starting to move, and David O'Brien has all the Braves rumors:
There seems to be very little question: the Braves will trade Soriano, sooner rather than later. The whole situation has become rather like an NFL trade request, where players' agents are often permitted to help locate potential trade partners for their clients, if the client wants to be traded. Soriano's agent Peter Greenberg provided Wren with a list of teams that had expressed interest in Soriano, and Wren has already had conversations with the Yankees, Astros and Orioles. He adds that there is at least one team that would be interested in acquiring both Derek Lowe and Rafael Soriano. It does not appear that the Braves will make any attempt to sign Soriano before trading him.
Frank Wren thinks he'll be able to trade Derek Lowe without eating much if any salary.
The search for a hitter is apparently on the back burner for now. The front office never anticipated getting key pieces in trade for Lowe or Soriano or KJ; they have just been looking to move those salaries for perhaps a prospect or two, with intentions of looking for offense afterwards.
UPDATE: Puerto Rican newspaper El Nuevo Dia reports that the Braves have signed catcher Orlando Mercado Jr. to a minor-league contract with a non-roster invite to spring training. Mercado was a six-year minor-league free agent after hitting .256/.364/.376 across six years in the Diamondbacks system, but he was drafted out of high-school (in Puerto Rico), so he'll still be just 25 years old next year. He hit .293/.383/.373 in 2009, and he was ranked as the best defensive catcher in the D-Backs system a couple years ago. On-base skills and good defense? Sounds better than Clint Sammons already.