Braves Shifting Trade Focus Away From High-End Bat

In the last 24 hours we've learned that the Atlanta Braves are shifting their focus away from the high-priced bats like the Astros Hunter Pence and the Mets Carlos Beltran, to lower priced bats like the Reds Jonny Gomes. The price in prospects for Pence and Beltran would likely be too much for the Braves to stomach, especially when their needs don't necessarily revolve around the acquisition of just a right-handed hitter.

The Braves are also on the prowl for a right-handed setup man, a point further highlighted by last night's loss to the Rockies, and by the recent struggles of Cory Gearrin and Scott Proctor. There have been no names identified or rumored as potential relief targets that the Braves are looking to acquire.

Ken Rosenthal reports that the Braves don't view Pence as their slugger of choice to acquire. While Jonny Gomes doesn't have impressive overall numbers (.215/.338/.407), he has hit very well against left-handed pitching this year (.340/.446/.547). It's not clear what role Gomes would serve other than as a right-handed pinch hitter -- he is not a center fielder -- though the Braves have been looking for a right-handed bench bat for some time now.

If the Braves chose to get all their needed pieces from the Reds, Nick Masset could fill the Braves need for an additional right-handed reliever.

The Reds are only 4.5 games out of the Central Division lead, but they are two games under .500 with three teams in front of them.

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