Something caught my eye today that is either new information or information that has missed my radar. Poking around the computer today I read several articles that made reference to Tyler Pastornicky being the starting shortstop for 2012!
This news changes a lot for the Atlanta Braves. Pastornicky is a guy who can hit 2nd in the order, potentially replacing Martin Prado. So now we have Bourn leading off with Pastornicky following behind him as we head into the heart of our line up.
This is interesting for a couple of reasons. One, it takes away a need for the Braves. They would no longer be in the hunt for a starting short stop but rather a veteran back up. The quality of player has now changed dramatically. If this free agent short stop or someone acquired via trade isn’t going to be out on the field everyday then we can be less choosy with who we bring in. Secondly this leaves us with one pressing need which is a OF bat. Most likely a left fielder. If Pastronicky can replace Prado in the 2 hole then we can acquire a power bat who can hit anywhere from 4th-7th in the line up. Doesn’t really matter where he ends up.
Martin Prado can now be more easily traded allowing us to have a nice piece of trade bait to attract other teams. The other thing to consider is that Jurrjens trade value is going to sky rocket once Buerhle and CJ Wilson are signed. Once those 2 shoes drop the teams that are pitching hungry are going to attack Jurrjens like piranhas. It all comes down to supply and demand. Once those two are signed the pitching crop gets a LOT weaker thus making Jurrjens look like a stud. This isn’t a free agency that is packed with guys like CC Sabathia or Clayton Kershaw type guys.
There are supposedly 10 teams that are interested in Jair Jurrjens. That’s 1/3 of the league. I’m sure it won’t be a problem to move Jurrjens if we can just find the right deal. The Reds are interested in Jurrjens as they are in need of a number 2 starter. Would Drew Stubbs be a good option for Atlanta? Would the Reds be willing to part with him? The Rockies also are showing a lot of interest as it’s always important to put decent pitchers out there when you’re playing in such a pitcher friendly park, you need any edge you can get. Would a guy like Dexter Fowler come into play?
Dexter Fowler is an interesting option if he were to become available. The Braves offense really came alive in 2011 when Bourn was in the line up with Constanza. Remember the super fast guy who enjoyed licking his bat? He faded away very quickly but no one can deny that his presence was felt while in the line up. In fact I think he did more to boost the offense last year then Heyward did. I remember writing an article last summer about whether or not Heyward was going to lose his job to Constanza.
Dexter Fowler is a similar type of player. He’s very fast. He can steal bases and beat out ground balls. He can bunt for hits and track down balls in the outfield. Is he the power bat that Wren was originally looking for? No, not at all. However does he compliment Michael Bourn? I think he does. We could bat him 8th or even 2nd. Pastornicky could also hit 2nd or 8th.
Fowler would also give us a long term option in CF if Bourn was not willing to resign with the team. I believe that team performance is more important to Bourn then money. If the team makes a serious run this season and shows signs of being a contender then I think he will stay in Atlanta. After playing in Houston through some very tough seasons I can’t see him playing for anyone else but a strong contender. He seems happy in Atlanta but you never know for sure. If Bourn leaves then Fowler could act as a long term CF and lead off man for the Braves.
Drew Stubbs is also a very viable option if the Reds would be willing to part with him. Wren is interested in acquiring someone who’s still fairly young, not someone who is 36 and on their way out. Stubbs is only 27 years old and could possibly improve. He hit 15 home runs last year and drove in 44 runs. He also plays CF for the Reds so shifting him over to left field wouldn’t be an issue and he could be another guy who could possibly take over CF duties if Bourn were to leave. His biggest down fall is that he hit under .250 last year and batting average is something that the Braves struggled with all season last year. They need base runners badly, look at how many solo HR’s Dan Uggla hit last year.
Another option that could be considered would be sending Jurrjens over to the Yankees for Nick Swisher and a prospect of some kind. Swisher is a switch hitter who has a good amount of experience playing left field as he’s started over 100 games there for his career. The interesting thing about Swisher is his 85rbi’s would basically be good enough for the team lead in Atlanta. No one on the Braves drove in more then 90 runs last year. He also hit 23HR so his numbers would have a big impact on the Braves offense.
Those are just a few possible scenarios that could work for the Bravos. Let me know what you guys think..
By: Bob McVinua