Friday, October 9, 2009

Nelson Cruz to the Braves?

The Braves are still looking for a right handed power hitter. How's this idea? Nelson Cruz to the Braves:
"Anyway, here’s a name that I think will come up next week: Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz. Yes, the guy that our own Coach (of the blog, or at least he used to be, haven’t seen him around much lately) suggested Cruz as the answer a year ago. If the Braves had traded for him instead of signing Garret Anderson, hey, they’d have probably been a better team. But the same could be said for Bobby Abreu and other relatively low-cost options).

But anyway, Cruz is right-handed and hit .260 with 33 homers, 20 stolen bases and an .856 OPS in 128 games, and while his .931 OPS at hitter-friendly Arlington was a lot higher than his .778 on the road, he hit almot as many homers (15) on the road than at home (18) in virtually the same number of at-bats.

True, he hit far better against righties (.270 with .898 OPS and 26 homers in 330 at-bats) than against lefties (.235 with .752 OPS and seven homers in 132 at-bats), but I doubt that would sway the Braves either way, if they’re interested. Sometime it’s just a matter of a team wanting a big right hitter up there to make the other team think about it, to break up a bunch of lefty hitters, or vice-versa. And he’s a big dude, a specimen. And the Rangers might have an extra outfielder or two a willing to part with him in a trade. Might."
From the Braves perspective, there's lots to like about Cruz. He's a young, cheap power hitter, who's not eligible for arbitration until after the 2011 season. If the Rangers ever made Cruz available, I'm sure the Braves would be banging on their door trying to acquire him.

But here's the thing: who exactly would the Braves be prepared to part with in order to acquire Nelson Cruz? Young power hitters don't exactly come cheap. I'm sure the Rangers would be looking for premium, young, major league ready pitching in return. In addition, Cruz was one of the few bright spots in the Rangers lineup this season, which makes it even less likely that the Rangers will look to deal him.

Because the Braves have a surplus of starting pitchers, GM Frank Wren's goal seems to turn one of those starting pitchers into a big bat. Out of the six starters the Braves have right now, only two of them fit the mold of what the Rangers should (and would) be looking for: Tommy Hanson and Jair Jurrjens.

And I'll just say it right now, there's not a chance in hell the Braves trade either one of them.

So while the idea of Nelson Cruz to the Braves sounds good, I seriously doubt that it could happen. There's simply not enough incentive for the Rangers to trade Cruz unless they're overwhelmed with an offer they can't refuse.


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Anonymous said...

No way the Braves trade Jurrjens or Hanson.

Jorge Says No! said...

Completely agree.

Anonymous said...

Well here are the facts. The Rangers are actively looking for a veteran starting pitcher, left handed set up man and another solid right handed hitter.

Kenshin Kawakami, Eric O'Flarety and Matt Diaz fit the bill.

Nelson Cruz is rumored to be in Ron Washingtons doghouse, why I have no idea.

There are reason for the Rangers to keep Cruz and then again, reasons to sell high if the right trade offer is made.

Jorge Says No! said...

If the Braves were to offer those three for Cruz, I don't think it'd be enough to get it done. I'd want more than that for Cruz because he has far more upside and potential.

Dave said...

I think if you switched out Javier Vazquez for Kawakami, and kept O'Flaherty and Diaz in that trade, the Rangers would bite. Cruz has tremendous power and upside and is relatively young (turns 30 next season) and very cheap, yes. But the Rangers have a surplus of major-league ready outfielders, and they really need to acquire an ace type veteran pitcher. They've stated that publicly. Their fans all want them to try and get Halladay, but that ain't happening. So Vazquez is probably the next-best thing.

I could definitely see this happening, without Hanson or Jurrjens even being brought up. And it very well could turn out to be a win-win for both teams.