Thursday, August 1, 2013

Post-Deadline Pre-Other Deadline Thoughts

Ah, great.  July 31st has come and gone and we can stop this thinking about trades.  Well, no, not so much.  Instead, it's August and we get the often-confused, rarely understood Waiver Trades.  For the final two months, trades can be completed but only if players go through waivers and every team in baseball says "this guy is overpaid/sucky/ugly" and declines to claim the player.  It's a ridiculous way to make things more complicated than they should be. And to make things even more odd, any player picked up must be acquired before August 31st to be available for the playoff roster.

Atlanta has been active after August 1st throughout the past 20 or so years.  Often, the players who are acquired fit a particular role for the team for cheap because there are only weeks left during the season.  Getting a bench bat, for instance, has been the goal for an August trade.  In 1995, the Braves acquired both Luis Polonia and Mike Devereaux to provide depth for the team.  Polonia was utilized in the playoffs off the bench and Devereaux was the NLCS MVP against the Reds.  Greg Colbrunn, Daryle Ward, and Todd Hollandsworth were a few more guys who were picked up only to provide a bat deep in games.

Other times, the Braves have sought out one more arm for the pen.  Kent Mercker and Rudy Seanez come to mind.  And oddly, both were coming back to Atlanta for a playoff run.  In the early 90's, the Braves not only acquired a reliever, but he was a guy they would immediately count on.  In 1991, the Braves sent a player to be named later for Alejandro Pena.  He would close eleven straight for the Braves and three more in the NLCS against the Pirates.  His luck ran out in the World Series after he blew the lead in Game Three (though the Braves took the game in extras) and allowed Gene Larkin's one-out series-winner in Game Seven.  The Braves tried their luck with a late-season closer option the next year with Jeff Reardon, but he blew the lead in Game Two of the World Series and gave up a game-winning single in Game Three.  So...that sucked.

Rarely do big trades happen in August, though Atlanta has had a couple since 1991.  In 1996, they traded Ron Wright, Corey Pointer, and a player to be named for Denny Neagle.  Neagle sucked down the stretch, but was great in 1997 with four shutouts (and a fifth in the playoffs).  Unfortunately, the player to be named, Jason Schmidt, would eventually become a tremendous starter.

Three years ago, the Braves traded for Derrek Lee to answer a season-long hole at first base. Lee, who was having a bad run of it that year with Chicago, responded with a strong 39-game run with Atlanta, including a .849 OPS, though he would disappear in the division series against the Giants with a 2-for-16 clip.

Atlanta seems likely to pursue a waiver-deal over the next month.  Any trade that might happen has one purpose - bettering the playoff roster.  Grabbing another reliever could be useful.  The Braves still haven't been able to replace Ramiro Pena.  And according to Bryce Harper, "this shit ain't over."  I guess Harper is going to will the Nationals to catch the Braves. Heeding his threat, the Braves might need to make a deal over the next month.  Maybe add Placido Polanco for bench depth.  Maybe add a reliever, if the pass through waivers.  Whatever they might do, don't expect a big trade.  They simply do not happen in August unless you're the Red Sox and you're sending a small country's GDP to the Dodgers.

No comments:

Post a Comment