Potential Adrian Gonzalez Trade Destinations--Atlanta Braves

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My article exploring what the Padres should look to get in an Adrian Gonzalez trade has been a huge hit, racking up the most views of any individual article in CF history despite being up for just a couple of days.

Since that seems to be a hot-button topic, I thought I’d continue to look at possible deals based on potential fits for Gonzalez.

One destination that’s been mentioned a lot this year is Atlanta. Troy Glaus (.267/.358/.402) is a defensive liabilty at first, and he isn’t producing too much on offense given the high standards of a first baseman. He’s basically been replacement level at the position the past two seasons, and the Braves, wanting to win in Bobby Cox’s last season, are undoubtedly seeking an upgrade.

So let’s take a look. Atlanta hasn’t been shy about trading their prospects for a top 1B rental in the past (see Teixeira for Feliz, Andrus, Saltalamacchia, Harrison…), so maybe there’s a match here.

To refresh your memory (or inform you, if you haven’t read the linked article in the first sentence), the Padres are looking for:

1.) A proven upper-minors starter with high potential
2.) A young, perhaps raw, pitcher with high potential
3.) A potential starting catcher
4.) A fourth solid prospect, likely another hitter

Let’s see how well the Braves can meet these needs.

(If you’re reading this article on the Chicken Friars homepage, click “Continue Reading” for the rest of the entry).

1.) The Braves don’t have much in the way of prospects in their Triple-A rotation.

Their top Double-A prospect is lefty Mike Minor, a first-rounder from last year. His numbers (54 K, 22 BB in 36 2/3 IP) suggest he’s a wild power pitcher, but he’s more of a strike-thrower with good deception, and isn’t likely to strike out hitters like that in the big leagues. Therefore, his upside is a bit lower than what the Padres might be looking for.

None of the other Double-A starters jump out.

The only player who would fit the mold here is Randall Delgado. The 20-year-old righty was ranked the Braves 7th-best prospect coming into the year after striking out 141 batters in 124 innings last season.

Delgado’s in High-A, which is a bit lower than we’d want, but he’s got a 2.88 ERA and 45/9 K/BB ratio in 40 innings, so he’s pretty much ready for Double-A. He’s got a mid-90’s heater and two promising but inconsistent secondary offerings, so he’s got plenty of stuff.

So, you start any Gonzalez negotations with Atlanta with Randall Delgado.

2.) The Braves’ 3rd best prospect is a 19-year-old righty named Julio Teheran, who is dominating Low-A with a 0.81 ERA.

Teheran throws in the low-90’s and has a plus changeup and solid curveball. In a perfect world, he becomes a right-handed Johan Santana. Scouts have some concerns about his mechanics, and he’s far enough away from the majors that the Braves might be talked into letting him and Delgado both go if it gives them a vastly improved chance to win in Cox’s final year.

3.) The Braves’ #6 prospect is a catcher, Christian Bethancourt. He’s just 18, so he’s miles from the majors, but that’s good–most of the Padres’ minor leaguers are old-for-their-levels guys, so Bethancourt would be some new fresh blood rather than another veteran minor leaguer.

He’s not hitting well in Low-A (.214/.243/.286), but we’re talking about an 18-year-old catcher, after all. He’s known to have one of the best catching arms in the minors, and hit .277/.342/.446 across two Rookie ball levels last year.

The bad start this year has probably dropped his stock a little, too, making his inclusion a little more palatable.

4.) I’m not going to be too picky. I’d love to get slugging Cody Johnson (.250/.297/.481 in AA this year, 32 homers last year in an extreme pitcher’s park in High-A), but he’s not really well-suited to end up in Petco either offensively or defensively–he’d just be another Kyle Blanks 2010 sort. The Braves are short on potential impact position players beyond him, though. Riann Spanjer-Furstenburg is a mildly interesting first baseman in Low-A. He’d do, I guess, since we’re asking for so much on the pitching side of things. Willie Cabrera and veteran utilityman Wes Timmons would be palatable options as well.

So there you have it: Randall Delgado, Julio Teheran, Christian Bethancourt, and another hitter (Cody Johnson if possible, but someone else is okay) for Adrian Gonzalez.

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