As the trade deadline approaches, the teams in the hunt for the post-season are bound to make some trades to add impact players to their team. The Braves have never been a team that has shied away from making a move -- even a big move -- to strengthen their team. In fact, if the Braves are anywhere near sniffing distance of a post-season berth come late July, then their front office is working the phones trying to add players.
This year we've heard most of the rumors about the Braves needing an outfielder and not pitching. The rumors just won't stop with regards to the Braves being tied to different outfielders. Whoever they try to acquire the Braves have one of the best and most sought-after commodities in baseball -- young pitching. And particularly young pitching that is close to Major League ready.
The crown jewel of this young pitching is 2009 first round pick Mike Minor. The left-hander was drafted seventh overall out of Vanderbilt, signed quickly, and has moved through the system even quicker, arriving at triple-A just last week where he has produced two excellent starts. Minor may not have the ultimate ceiling that pitching prospects Julio Teheran or Arodys Vizcaino do, but he is about the closest thing to a Major League ready prospect that the Braves have, and he's a pitcher, and he's left-handed.
This combination of proximity to the Majors and good performance in the minors makes Mike Minor not only the most tradeable player that the Braves have in their system, but also one of the most tradeable players in the entire minor leagues. Add to that the fact that the Braves have pitching prospect depth with Teheran, Vizcaino, and Randall Delgado, and there's no real barriers to the Braves sending Minor to another team in the right deal.
The latest rumor comes from a Peter Gammons tweet, where he mentions that he's hearing Mike Minor to Milwaukee for Corey Hart. The Brewers' Hart has long been coveted by the Atlanta front office, as he has appeared in trade rumors for the last two years (so this rumor is nothing new). What is new is that the Braves may finally have a commodity that the Brewers want (and that Atlanta is willing to give up) -- Mike Minor.
Many people wondered why the Braves drafted Minor last year, as he was considered a safe pick and not a great pick, but a player who could move fast. The Braves may have drafted him in part with the knowledge that they could use him in a deal this year. The idea being to draft the guy who will appear the most Major League ready, and therefore have the most trade value. If that's the case, then that's pretty brilliant.
As for Hart, he's having a career year, so we would be buying him at maximum value. But he's got a year of arbitration left before he's a free agent, so it wouldn't be just a one-year rental.
As for trading away Minor, I wouldn't really shed too much of a tear. Like I said the Braves have great depth in starting pitchers in the minors, so while we would be losing our closet prospect to the Majors, he is currently blocked by all the guys signed through next season in the Majors.
Now if we could just get the Brewers to take Kawkami's contract, we'd be set.