Here’s the target, Chris Young, CF. Wren comes in, like everyone else, saying that he wants Upton. He purposefully looses the Upton deal while fattening Towers with another GM's prospects by driving up the price. He then convinces Towers he is interested in Chris Young by default, whose had a bad first half. Because he is hitting .206 on the year, and is signed to a 9 mil contract next season, Towers won’t expect a substantial return. Also, because his main attention will be on the prospects he gets for Upton, Wren will be able to pull off a very shrewd deal for Young. He may even be able to insist Towers add Drew if he wants a real pitching prospect from the Braves. This is more achievable while Drew is having a rough start back from an injury and is a FA this off-season.
Between ’10 and ’11 Young (28) stole 50 bases and hit 47 HRs. Even with his rough start he is on course for 20 HR this season.
Young could be a bat off the bench against LH pitching for the Braves (.927 OPS against LHP even this season) a pinch runner (which we don’t have) and a fourth outfielder – in all ways an upgrade to Diaz (.778 OPS against LHP this season). Not only is his defense superior to any backup outfielders on our roster, he would also give us a legitimate backup CF. Our outfield defense with Prado in would be like the lock-down outfield we experienced with Constanza in left.
What’s especially beautiful about this move is that, because he is having such a rough first half, we can reasonably get away with using him off the bench for the rest of the season. Because he has such a good track record, and because he would shine for the braves against LHP, Wren would be in good shape to carry Young into the off-season as a potential CF for 2013. (if he hits well with the Braves, he also has a trade-able contract when compared to the others CFs will sign this off season).
The acquisition of Young would give us a real starter to insert if any of our non SS/C starters go down—an insurance move we absolutely must make. I am also a big fan of bringing over Drew, otherwise we will be rushing Simmons back, which we should avoid at all costs. Drew can be expected to play well enough to not rush Simmons back, but not so well that we don’t want him back. When Simmons returns, Drew would be our backup SS/2B for the rest of the season, a superior option over anyone we have in that role. What’s more, Simmons (and Uggla) bat R and Drew bats L.
To work this trade, Wren is in perfect position to play off Epstein of the Cubs, by saying he would prefer Reed Johnson for this bench role, who will cost less in cash and prospects, is a free agent in the off season, has a .900+ OPS against LHP and a .345 OBP against RHP. He can also play center (but is not a potential starter next year). To be honest, he is just as good of an option if not better for the needs of this season alone, but I think Wren will prefer, 1, the chance to lock down Young in CF for a couple years at an affordable cost, and 2, the addition of Drew to the deal. Then, to avoid paying the remainder of these guys’ salaries for the season Wren may add Pastornicky. Some may say this isn't enough for Young, but Shaffer and who? weren't close to enough for Bourn.
So ultimately the trade scenario I am anticipating is Young and Drew to Atlanta (+ cash for their salaries) and Delgado, Pastornicky and some loose end prospects to the Diamondbacks.
It’s important to add that, if Wren is considering Young for his CF of 2013, he can keep Constanza in his mind, whose play this year is forcing him into the picture. This begs the question of a Constanza/Young platoon as a backup plan for CF next year. Wren could start the season with Young in as a full timer, and Constanza spelling him occasionally against RHP. If he doesn’t return to form as an every day starter within the first couple months, Wren can at least expect him will do well against LHP, and partner him up with Constanza. Not only would this get decent production from the CF position in the event Young doesn’t perform in a full time role, it would also keep his 2014 option from vesting. I would also imagine this platoon late in the season if someone went down.
Going into the playoffs our bench would be:
1. Young OF, RHBat off the bench, pinch runner
2. Hinske OF/1B LHBat off the bench
3. Drew SS/2B
4. Ross C
5. Whoever catches fire down the stretch, because with these four, all the positions are already covered. We could keep Diaz or add a C so Ross could pinch hit, but I think we would do better to add another left handed bat, particularly Constanza. Young can bring speed while hitting for average and power against LHP, Hinske can hit for power against RHP and adding Constanza gives us a bat for avg and speed against RHP. He also adds a pesky at bat against aces in the playoffs and is a better pinch runner than Young.
Our healthy starting offense is absolutely phenomenal… This trade shores us up, stocks our bench with tools, and puts our offense in position to do something special this fall.