Braves scouring trade market for starter, reliever
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ANTA -- With Zack Greinke no longer an option and questions still surrounding the possibility of Ryan Dempster eventually agreeing to be traded to Atlanta, the Braves have extended their search for a starting pitcher and also evaluated the possibility of adding a reliever before Tuesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline.
If the Braves do not acquire a starting pitcher within the next couple of days, they plan to have Kris Medlen make Tuesday's start against the Marlins. It remains to be seen whether this move from the bullpen to the rotation proves to be permanent, but if it does, there is a greater need for Atlanta to find a reliever to replace the value Medlen has brought to the bullpen.
With Jonny Venters providing some recent indication that he has distanced himself from his early-season struggles, the Braves will not necessarily be looking for a top-flight reliever. They would simply like to add a reliever who could fill the void if Medlen does indeed remain in the rotation.
"We're looking to upgrade the club," manager Fredi Gonzalez said Saturday while acknowledging that he has remained in regular contact with general manager Frank Wren about potential trades.
While the Braves have a history of making deals with the Royals, they will likely not be in the market for Jonathan Broxton. If Kansas City decides to move Broxton, it will likely be looking for a respected pitching prospect in return.
The Braves will likely not move any of their attractive young pitching prospects -- Julio Teheran, Randall Delgado or Mike Minor -- unless they are making a deal for a starter who could significantly impact their rotation.
They were willing to trade Delgado to the Cubs in exchange for Dempster and discussed the possibility of including Teheran if they would have been able to strike a deal with the Brewers for Greinke, who was traded to the Angels on Friday night. The Braves will likely have to part ways with one of their young pitchers to acquire James Shields from the Rays, but they may be hesitant to pay this price for some of the other available starters.
Along with scouring the trade market for pitching, the Braves have also explored the possibility of adding a right-handed bat. They do not have any interest in reuniting with Jeff Francoeur, who could be traded by the Royals within the next couple of days. But there does seem to be some interest in the Mets' Scott Hairston, who has compiled a .514 slugging percentage in 220 at-bats this season.