The Braves' needs are pretty simple: A power hitting right handed hitter (most likely a OF or 1B) and bullpen help. I think the best solution to the hole in the offense is acquiring a 1B via trade and plugging the Matt Diaz platoon back in LF. If we were to get an OF I could see the brass moving Martin Prado to 1B and putting Kelly Johnson back at 2B. This would be less than ideal. Although, it is feasible that we could acquire a cheaper option at 1B if we were to acquire a big bat in LF (like Nick Johnson, Fernando Tatis, Nomar Garciaparra... just to name some possibilities).
RH OF's that likely could be had and fit our needs:
The problem here is we would likely have to give up Javier Vazquez for one of these fellas, but he has that pesky no trade clause to the NL and AL West. If the Angels got desperate maybe they would consider a package for Rivera involving Lowe or Kawakami but that is wishful thinking at this point.
It is relatively slim pickins when it comes to a right handed power bat for the outfield. Matt Holliday is definitely out of our price range. Carlos Lee's power has steadily been in decline (not to mention he has a huge contract). A quick glance at the top 10-15 RH OF's in OPS shows that the other players not mentioned here are unlikely to be moved.
The Braves have been loosely linked to Corey Hart and Josh Willingham. While they would be improvements over what we have right now, they wouldn't really be the big bat we need to make a splash. Certainly neither of them merit the inclusion of Vazquez in a potential deal.
Adrian Gonzalez's name is being whispered in trade rumors, but it is likely that he will stay put. Besides, he is also on a West coast team, (one that is looking to cut salary) so it negates the ability to trade part of our wealth of starting pitching for him (Tommy Hanson and Tim Hudson are obviously going nowhere and I also consider Jair Jurrjens off-limits). It would then take a minor league package that would knock their socks off, which is unlikely to happen.
The Brewers haven't committed long term to Prince Fielder, and they have been rumored to have interest in Vazquez... but I don't see that deal materializing. Fielder is due to become a free agent in 2011. Unless the Braves could work out terms for a new deal before trading for him then they would have no interest parting with the inevitable large bounty of prospects the Brewers would demand.
My long shot solution: Miguel Cabrera
Miguel Cabrera might be falling out of favor with the Tigers. The domestic violence incident before last season's play-in game allegedly rubbed some people in the organization the wrong way. Additionally, the Tigers are the LEAST profitable team in Baseball and probably wouldn't mind shedding salary if they were getting good value in return.
With Garret Anderson, Mike Gonzalez, Rafael Soriano, and Greg Norton becoming free agents plus the difference between Hudson's contract last year and this year we have some money to spend. Cabrera will make $19 million while Vazquez makes around $12 million. We definitely would be able to make up the $7 million difference in their salaries from contracts we have coming off the books. Even after this trade we would still have money to grab a closer. According to fangraphs Cabrera's value was actually around $24 million last season, so his contract seems less outlandish in context with his performance. Chipper Jones has maybe two seasons maximum (a generous estimate) left in him so we would be free of his contract in the near future.
Do we have what it takes to get Cabrera? Possibly. The Tigers would probably first ask for Jurrjens, Hanson, or Jason Heyward and get shot down by the Braves. They might hang up the phone right then and there, but would a Vazquez-Freedy Freeman-Julio Tehran-Jordan Schafer package get it done? Is that too much? Too little? Would we have to include Mike Minor ?I think we have the pieces to get him if we wanted, but it wouldn't come cheap. Cabrera is locked up through 2016, so it may be worth it to blow them away with a package if it ensured that we would have his bat in the lineup for the next seven years.
- SU: Moylan
- CL: Soriano/Gonzalez/Wagner/(potential free agent signing)
We have had success trading with the Tigers in the past... Assume for a second that this deal is possible. Would you do it? What would your package be?