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End of Year Rumoring

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We got this lovely tidbit yesterday from Will Carroll (hat tip: ejruiz):

While I can't give specifics on the deal, there are still at least six teams involved in some discussions centering on Atlanta. The Braves are in full dump mode, trying to get something for Andruw Jones, trying to find Jones' replacement on the cheap, and working more on the bullpen. Leo Mazzone isn't there to build a bullpen out of dreck anymore. So how does this all work together? Why trade a young player like Andy Adam LaRoche if they're trying to control the payroll? Why deal Jones right now rather than at the deadline? The team is determined to find a solid bullpen and think they can do it with a series of deals that include LaRoche, Mike Gonzalez, Andruw Jones, and several CF candidates that I'm told include Rocco Baldelli, Curtis Granderson, and Nick Markakis. The deals appear to also have some other big names like Tim Hudson, Mark Teixeira, and Dontrelle Willis on the periphery. The three team deal that seemed close over the weekend doesn't seem so close now as the complexity has increased. Remember that John Schuerholz is normally a slow worker, so quiet on this front doesn't mean that nothing is happening.

And this opposite spin from David O'Brien:

Listening to [Schuerholz], I get a feeling the Braves might make another move or two, but also might not. I don't get a feeling they're working on a flurry of big moves, as some have suggested. Don't get that feeling at all.

"We're still talking, still looking for moves we can make that make us stronger," Schuerholz said. "But if we can't [make any more] we think our team... it's already stronger."

So what do these mixed signals mean? Well, DOB is the writer who's around the Braves the most, so one should probably trust his opinion more than that of Will Carroll's. Also, Carroll's column, while alluding to a bunch of "potential" moves, does not source any of these moves - it seems to be more of a "hunch" or a "feel." Of course while it is probably just a feeling, it's got some interesting possibilities mentioned. I think what we can glean from all this is that the Braves have several (read many) feelers out there.

The mention of the Marlins' Willis and the Tigers' Granderson is interesting, as this is the first mention I've seen in a national column. I know that the Marlins were trying to get a center fielder at the Winter Meetings and Granderson would fit the bill, so I wonder if there is some sort of three team melee that we have going where the Fish would get Curtis, we would get Willis, and the Tigers would get...well, the Tigers appear set at most every position after shoring up their offense with the acquisition of Gary Sheffield from the Yankees. And their rotation seems set as well with a strong front four.

It is also interesting to see Nick Markakis' name mentioned with the Baltimore group of players - we really seem to be driving a hard bargain with the O's. The only name that really surprised me was that of Mark Teixeira. He is a former Georgia Tech standout, but as a first baseman/designated hitter it doesn't seem like he would be a fit with the Braves - also his price tag wouldn't seem to fit the Braves payroll ($9M in `07). But he may be a piece that moves somewhere else - perhaps Teixeira to Baltimore, Markakis and Penn to Atlanta, and Hudson to Texas. All that is pure guessing so don't quote me (unless I turn out to be right).

Like many have been saying some of these trades might get rather radical in their complexity.