The Braves are very much shopping Justin Upton and are requesting a higher return than they received earlier this week when they dealt their other corner outfielder, Jason Heyward.
In exchange for Heyward and reliever Jordan Walden, Atlanta received from St. Louis a pretty good starter with four years of control in Shelby Miller plus pitching prospect Tyrell Jenkins.
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The Braves are essentially in a rebuild posture, and dealing both of their star corner outfielders only would further the sense they are trying to position themselves to be a strong team again when they move into a new ballpark in 2017.
It’s strange to see the Braves, who really haven’t punted a season in a long, long time, punting a season. But I can’t really blame them. Last season they were outscored by 24 runs, and the current roster, even before the disposition of Jason Heyward, didn’t have much up-side. Catcher Christian Bethancourt, only 23, is a fine prospect. They’ve got a 20-year-old second baseman named Jose Peraza who could be really good in two or three years. Otherwise, there’s not a lot going on, prospect-wise.
So if the Braves aren’t going to hit the free-agent market hard, they probably should be targeting seasons beyond 2015. These next two years, though? With a smaller payroll — B.J. Upton notwithstanding — and a ballpark that’s going to be a pile of rubble in two years? It might be okay! But it might get ugly for a while.