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squashing-some-sunday-rumors | December | 2010 Articles

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Squashing Some Sunday Rumors

Written by Joe Lucia on .

Well here we are, on a fine NFL Sunday. I'm on my second pot of coffee today, waiting for my Ravens to start playing tonight...and lo and behold, some Braves rumors are breaking on Twitter! As someone who Braves fans apparently listen to when it comes to such matters, I feel its my sworn duty to take a look at a couple of these rumors and tell you why they're total bunk. For now, at least.

"Greinke, 27, has 15 teams on his no-trade list. The Rangers, Braves, Reds are among the clubs with possible interest in him that are not on the list, sources say. Those teams would face no such obstacle in trading for the Royals' ace." - Ken Rosenthal

"i like #rangers, #braves for greinke. atlanta a real nice fit" - @SI_JonHeyman

I'm trying to figure out why Zack Greinke would make sense for the Braves at this point in time. The Braves currently have 6 (well, 7 if you count Kenshin Kawakami...he's still technically in the organization) starting pitchers, and adding another one to the fold, even one as good as Greinke, seems like it doesn't make a lot of sense. The Royals would want top flight talent in exchange for Greinke, IE one of the holy trinity (Arodys Vizcaino, Julio Teheran, Randall Delgado). The Braves would probably only make the deal if they could get away with trading Mike Minor to KC in order to free up a spot in the rotation, because there is no chance in hell that the Royals would want to take on the contract of someone like Derek Lowe or Tim Hudson. Jair Jurrjens isn't really the type of impact player that the Royals would probably want as a centerpiece of the deal. It just doesn't make sense right now with the starting pitching surplus. There's also the salary factor, as the Braves are pretty well tapped out right now when you figure arbitration raises into things. Greinke is scheduled to make $13.5 million in each of the next 2 seasons, and the Braves would need to move Lowe or Hudson in order to take that salary on. Lowe's contract makes him untradeable, and Hudson is a bargain at what he's making right now. So to sum things up, there's no way this is getting done. If Greinke doesn't sign an extension with the Royals or whoever his new team is and becomes a free agent after 2012...well, then we could talk.

"Teams that could be on gonzo next winter: dodgers, angels, rangers, braves, orioles, mats, cubs." - @Buster_ESPN

Olney is of course talking about Adrian Gonzalez. Now, let's go over the reasons that this is a silly bit of rumormongering. Now that the deal between the Padres and Red Sox has apparently fallen through, Gonzalez will likely begin the 2011 season as a member of the Padres. So it would be open season for him after the season ends, assuming he doesn't get traded at the deadline. Let me preface this by saying that Gonzalez is one hell of a player, and would be a huge upgrade for the Braves lineup. But the Braves have Freddie Freeman ready to take over in 2011, and while Gonzalez is a fantastic player, it wouldn't make a lot of sense to make a hard run at him without trading Freeman. This could make sense if the Braves acquire Gonzalez at midseason, with Freeman as the centerpiece of a deal heading to San Diego. But that would only make sense if the Braves were able to sign Gonzalez to an extension. And he wants a 9 figure deal for 8 years. The Braves can't afford to spend $18 million or so on one player unless that player's name is "Jason Heyward", and the year is 2018. It just doesn't add up.

Summing things up, why do beat writers mention the Braves in situations like this, with big name players possibly getting moved? There are a couple reasons that I think this happens. First off, the Braves have a fantastic farm system and considering prospects are the key pieces in all of these deals, its always natural to assume that the teams that have a surplus of them would be interested, especially with a hole at the major league level. Another point is that a large majority of the Braves prospects are pitchers. Other GMs sure do love young pitching, which you can never really have enough of. So that gives the Braves another advantage in this situation. One more point to consider, is that the man in charge of the team, Frank Wren, has shown no hesitation in making deals when he feels like he can improve his team. Wren has made numerous trades over the past year, from the Soriano fiasco, to the July trades of Escobar and the Royals trade, and most recently, the Dan Uggla trade. Someone like that would be more likely to make a huge move than someone like an Andrew Friedman, who doesn't really make many trades and likes to go under the radar with his moves. I guess its a good thing to have someone running the ship that isn't afraid to shake things up a little bit.
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