With the offseason officially underway, the rumors will be swirling all around baseball. The Atlanta Braves have already made headlines with their trade of Derek Lowe. Evidently they have no intention of slowing down, as a Major League source said the Braves have told some teams that they may be open to trading Jair Jurrjens and Martin Prado.
One potential suitor for Jurrjens is the Kansas City Royals. The Braves and Royals have been active trade partners in the past, and the Royals have some attractive young trade pieces. The Braves have shown interest in outfielders Wil Myers, a highly touted prospect, and Lorenzo Cain. This isn't the first time the Braves have had talks about Cain, as there were rumblings of a Brandon Beachy for Cain swap last offseason.
While Jurrjens and Prado are both great players, it makes sense for the Braves to dangle these players to other teams. Both players are starting to get expensive, and clearing their respective salaries would allow the Braves to pursue better options at shortstop and left field. Furthermore, Jurrjens is a Scott Boras client, and while Frank Wren has shown a willingness to sign his clients, Boras almost always takes his players to free agency. If Jurrjens hits the free agent market in two years, assuming his performance stays the same, the Braves won't be able to afford him.
Moving away from the financial side, the Braves have an abundance of options available for the rotation. While losing Jurrjens would certainly hurt, the Braves have the pitching depth to absorb that hit.
As for Prado, he's a fan favorite and very well-liked in the clubhouse. Unfortunately, he's a man without a position. His true value is at second base, where he is an All-Star caliber player. But with Dan Uggla holding that spot, Prado is forced to play left field and the occasional third base. Trading Prado would allow the Braves to get a true left fielder and would give Prado the opportunity to perhaps be the everyday second baseman for another team.
While there are certainly merits to trading away these two great players, there is plenty of downside. Jurrjens, despite his knee troubles, is one of only three experienced starters in the Braves' rotation. With the cloud of uncertainty hanging over Tommy Hanson's shoulder, the Braves may feel that they can't trade Jurrjens.
Likewise, Prado has proven himself to be a great hitter, and his versatility gives the Braves options. If they trade Prado, they may not be able to find a replacement that can match his production. Furthermore, the Braves would lose an excellent backup third baseman. It is a near certainty that Chipper Jones will miss at least 30 games, and Prado fills in admirably at the hot corner.
Trades are never easy, especially when they involve star players. There's no doubt that Wren has his hands full this offseason.
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