Johnson, Pierzynski among potential trade chips
Braves also drawing interest in Frasor, Maybin
BALTIMORE -- Jim Johnson and A.J. Pierzynski completed their normal routines before the Braves were scheduled to complete a three-game series against the Orioles on Wednesday night. But there is a chance both of these veterans will find themselves with a new employer within the next couple days.
Johnson and Pierzynski remain the most likely players to be dealt by the Braves before Friday's Trade Deadline. But Atlanta's front office has also continued to field calls from teams interested in Cameron Maybin and Jason Frasor, a veteran reliever who has significantly enhanced his stock since signing with Atlanta after the All-Star break.
Johnson has made himself attractive as he's revitalized his career while producing a 2.25 ERA in 49 appearances this season. Interest in the former closer is bolstered by the fact that he is owed about $650,000 over the remainder of this season.
The Royals are among the teams that have shown some interest in Johnson, but they have spent this week more focused on improving their rotation and lineup with the acquisitions of Johnny Cueto and Ben Zobrist.
The Orioles showed some interest in Jason Grilli before he suffered a season-ending Achilles injury on July 11. Given that Johnson is just two years removed from notching consecutive 50-save seasons for Baltimore, there is a chance he could end up back with his former club.
Maybin has drawn differing opinions from various scouts. Some believe the Braves should deal him before his value potentially drops by the end of this season and others think he could prove to be a valuable bargain for Atlanta over the next couple seasons.
The Braves are not actively shopping Maybin, but there is at least a slight chance they could opt to deal him this week if they are offered a significant return.
Like Jonny Gomes, Pierzynski might draw even more interest from clubs looking to add a veteran presence to their club in August, when players must first pass through waivers before being traded.
If the Braves trade Pierzynski, they would have a chance to bring Christian Bethancourt back to the Major League level and determine whether he's a long-term solution at catcher.
The Braves certainly didn't anticipate gaining a trade chip when they signed Frasor after he was released by the Royals earlier this month. But while allowing just one hit in the 3 2/3 scoreless innings he has completed for Atlanta, the 37-year-old right-hander has at least drawn some attention from clubs looking to add bullpen depth.