Heading into the All-Star break the Atlanta Braves are a half game up on San Francisco for the final Wild Card spot. Even though they are in good position right now, the Braves are certain to make a move before the trade deadline at the end of July. Atlanta will most likely make a trade to bolster their pitching staff first and are likely not to pursue batting help even though there could be some good hitters available. Below are a few players that could be in a Braves uniform by the end of the summer if they choose to add to their roster:
•Zack Greinke, Milwaukee Brewers – Greinke is at the top of Atlanta’s trade list. He is the Cy Young caliber pitcher that the Braves long for. Greinke has been strong this year with 9 wins before the break and an ERA of 3.32. The Brewer will cost the Braves some of their young talent but Atlanta appears reluctant to trade for Greinke if he doesn’t sign a long-term extension. If Atlanta lands the ace, they will be a strong contender for years to come with a staff led by Greinke and Brandon Beachy.
•Francisco Liriano, Minnesota Twins – The Braves have scouted Liriano to see how valuable he could be to their rotation. Liriano has a high ERA over 5 but has pitched better recently with an ERA just over 3 since the start of June. Liriano could be a bargain and a solid vet to add to the rotation.
•Matt Garza, Chicago Cubs – Garza is a good young talent and could be traded for without giving away a lot of young talent. His ERA is over 4 but on a team that is competing, Garza can be a good contributor and most importantly pitch deep into outings preventing the bullpen from being spent.
•Ryan Dempster, Chicago Cubs – A guy with an ERA under 2 is a nice addition to any lineup. Dempster will have a high asking price but would add a veteran presence to a young pitching staff. The Braves likely will not be willing to meet the Cubs asking price but Dempster can improve the rotation and he should be someone for Atlanta to consider.
•Brandon League, Seattle Mariners – League has been a nice closer for the Mariners over the past 2 seasons and would be a huge addition to a Braves’ pen that has struggled this season.
•Jonathan Broxton, Kansas City Royals – Broxton, like League, has been great for at the back end of the bullpen for a struggling club. With an ERA under 2 he would be a great set-up man
•Brian Fuentes, Oakland Athletics – Fuentes has had a bad year so far. In years past he has been a great reliever and a change of scenery could be in order.
•Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado Rockies – Carlos Gonzalez is a stretch to put on the trade list but he has been mentioned in trade discussions. Any team in contention would be foolish not to find out the asking price for a 5-tool player. The Braves are missing a high volume RBI guy in their lineup but would they be willing to part way with someone in the current lineup to make room for Gonzalez? Not to mention that he has multiple years left on his contract so he could be a staple the lineup for years to come.
•Carlos Quentin, San Diego Padres – Quentin missed the early part of the season and started off hot upon his return. He has cooled down but can provide some power for any organization. It is unlikely that he will be playing in the Peach State on a regular basis barring a major injury to Atlanta’s lineup.
•Jason Giambi, Colorado Rockies – Yes, Giambi is still playing baseball. He is no longer a superstar but a good pinch-hitter. He would be a good pinch-hitter and provide some veteran leadership come September when the Braves would hope to be solidifying a playoff spot. Giambi would cost the Braves very little and would be an upgrade over Eric Hinske who is hitting just .202 off the bench.
•Jonny Gomes, Oakland Athletics – Gomes is a player that has come off the bench a good bit in his career. Gomes has as good of home run ability as anyone and would be a good option off the bench and as a spot starter.
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