Atlanta Braves Trade Rumors: Latest Updates, News and Reaction
As the 2014 MLB season hits the midway point, the Atlanta Braves find themselves in a battle in the National League East. In order to enhance their chances of making the postseason, they may look to make a deal at the trade deadline.
Atlanta once again has a strong pitching staff. It's so strong that it could look at moving a few pieces in order to bring back some help on offense.
The Braves have plenty of big bats on offense, but they rank among the worst in all of baseball at scoring runs. That can easily be explained by the fact that they have several batters who swing and miss quite frequently. That's not a good thing to have come October, but first, the Braves have to find a way to get there.
Atlanta's pitching is good enough to keep the team in every game. The offense has the bats to make some noise, but it would benefit by adding a consistent hitter. Evan Gattis, Freddie Freeman, Justin Upton and Chris Johnson are all hitting the ball well in 2014. However, the rest of the lineup is full of holes that could cost the team a postseason spot.
Make sure to keep checking back here to see what rumors the Braves are involved in or what deals the team makes as the MLB trade deadline approaches.
July 18: Signed 2B Dan Uggla
July 31: Traded UT Emilio Bonifacio, LHP James Russell and cash to the Atlanta Braves in exchange for C Victor Caratini
July 31: Acquired UT Emilio Bonifacio and LHP James Russell from the Cubs
The Atlanta Braves were able to fill a couple of holes by acquiring utility man Emilio Bonifacio and left-handed reliever James Russell from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for catching prospect Victor Caratini.
Bonifacio was hitting .279 with two home runs,14 doubles and three triples on the season for Chicago. Speed is a big part of his game, and he also recorded 14 stolen bases in 69 games with the Cubs this season.
The Braves were looking for someone who could be versatile, and that's exactly what they got. The 29-year-old can play second, shortstop, third and anywhere in the outfield.
Bonifacio is signed through the end of this season at $2.5 million.
Acquiring a left-handed reliever was one of the team's goal. It achieved that goal by trading for Russell.
The southpaw had a 3.51 ERA and a 1.200 WHIP in 44 games this season. His splits this year are pretty surprising. he is holding right-handed hitters to a .103 average and left-handed batters are hitting.295 off him. All three of the home runs he has allowed have come against left-handed hitters.
Russell had a career 3.87 ERA in 316 games over four and a half seasons with the Cubs. For his career, left-handed batters are hitting only .240 against him.
Russell is signed through the 2015 season.
Atlanta had to give up its seventh-ranked prospect in Caratini, but it was able to get two pieces that will help the team make a postseason run this year.
Potential Trade Target: OF Chris Denorfia, San Diego Padres
The New York Post's Joel Sherman tweeted that the Atlanta Braves are interested in Chris Denorfia for their bench.
Denorfia is having a disappointing season at the plate. The 34-year-old is hitting only .244, which is the second straight season that his average has dropped. He is a career .275 hitter and hit no lower than .271 from 2010-13.
The veteran isn't going to hit for a lot of power, but he puts the bat on the ball and has decent speed. He struck out only 84 times in 144 games last season.
The fact that he doesn't strike out very much is very attractive to the Braves. They have several players who swing and miss frequently, so a player who makes consistent contact, and can play any outfield position, should be a target.
Denorfia will be a free agent after this season.
Braves to Look at Adding Bench and Bullpen Help at Deadline
According to MLB.com's Mark Bowman, the Atlanta Braves will focus on adding bench help and relievers, specifically a left-handed reliever.
Atlanta's bullpen ranks ninth in the majors, which isn't bad. However, this is a unit that was the best in the majors last season. Adding a left-handed reliever would certainly strengthen the bullpen.
The team could also use some quality role players for the bench. The Braves have plenty of strong hitters in their lineup, but they are in the market for players who can fit certain roles.
Braves pinch-hitters this season rank 22nd in the league with a .178 average and have hit only one home run. Now that Dan Uggla is gone, the team can begin to focus on shaping the bench.
Atlanta has a good roster, but now, the club has to look for ways to add complementary players to help its playoff chances.
July 18: Braves Release 2B Dan Uggla
The Atlanta Braves have cut ties with second baseman Dan Uggla, according to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal. Rosenthal initially wasn't sure if the team was designating the veteran for assignment or releasing him on the spot, but Fox Sports' Jon Morosi reported that the Braves have officially released the second baseman.
The release comes less than a week after Uggla was suspended one game, reportedly for being late to the ballpark.
Update: July 21 at 2 p.m. ET
--End of Update--
Since hitting .287 in 2010, Uggla's average has dropped each season. He hit only .179 last year and was hitting .162 with a .241 on-base percentage in 2014. In 48 games this season, he had only five extra-base hits—two home runs and three doubles.
The 34-year-old was an All-Star just three seasons ago, but his bat has been a big issue in recent years.
Atlanta still owes Uggla more than $5 million this season and $13 million in 2015, according to Rosenthal.
Potential Trade Candidate: RHP Aaron Harang
If there's one piece that the Atlanta Braves could afford to deal, it's Aaron Harang.
The 36-year-old has resurrected his career since signing a one-year contract with Atlanta this year. He has posted a 3.78 ERA and a 1.374 WHIP through his first 16 starts. He even flirted with a few no-hitters early in the season.
Now, he looks like one of the team's best trade assets.
The Braves have dealt with their fair share of injuries to the starting rotation. However, dealing Harang may be able to bring back a bat for the bench or some prospects that will help the team in the future.
Fox Sports' Jon Morosi reported that the Braves could look at moving Harang, or injured starter Gavin Floyd, because the team has Alex Wood in the minors. Harang would be affordable for any team looking for a cheap veteran to add to the rotation down the stretch.