When the Braves open their series against the National League's best team, the San Diego Padres (cough, cough, eyes bulge, what?), the Braves will finally be at full strength for the first time in months. Center fielder Nate McLouth is expected to be activated from the disabled list on Tuesday. McLouth has been out for over a month after suffering a concussion when colliding with
a freight train Jason Heyward in the outfield.
Mark Bowman reports that the Braves will likely demote Gregor Blanco to make room for McLouth on the 25-man active roster. How weird is it that demoting "Gregor Blanco" to activate Nate McLouth may viewed as a bad move, or a move that could weaken the team. Bowman breaks it down:
But with the July 31 trade deadline approaching, the Braves need to get McLouth back in their lineup. The probability of GM Frank Wren making a move this month will be greatly affected by what McLouth shows over the course of the next week.
Apparently the Braves have convinced McLouth to shorten his swing, which will hopefully speed his bat up. I'll believe it when I see it. Though taking an optimistic tone for a moment, if McLouth can somehow come close to that .450 slugging percentage he posted for a few years before the Braves acquired him, then that's another big power bat that can be added to the lower part of our batting order. That's a big IF though, and I'm not really that optimistic.
I'm starting to see a trend with our acquisitions via trade the last couple of years -- buying players at the peak of their value. I guess it's a consequence of a winning team that they have to acquire players who are actually performing at the time they acquire them, instead of acquiring players with an expectation that they improve their performance in the future.
Speaking of such players, here is a nugget from Buster Olney about a rumored Braves trade target:
Heard this: The asking price for Cody Ross is very, very high, despite the fact that some teams view him as a non-tender candidate.
Yuck. I don't want any part of Cody Ross. He's like Nate McLouth version 2.0, but with less speed.