As we cross the half way point of the spring on the Ides of March, the needs and surpluses of a team become more apparent. We in the fan world have known of the Braves' needs all off-season - leadoff man, left fielder, closer. With the recent injury news about John Foster, we may have to add bullpen lefty to that list. And indeed it may be that injury, and the need to fill it, that affects the other two holes on the team.
But we do have surpluses in certain areas. We may not have a proven star at the corner outfield spots, but we do have quite a bit of good young talent, and some rumored willingness to trade it. There were rumors this winter of a proposed deal that would have sent Ryan Langerhans to Cleveland in return for a bullpen arm, perhaps David Riske. Starting pitching depth is turning into a big plus as well for the Braves, and may be the strength from which they choose to make a deal as the spring winds down. Peter Gammons is hearing the same thing:
The Braves reportedly will move John Thomson or Horacio Ramirez to make room for Kyle Davies. One rumor is Thomson to the Mets for Victor Diaz, but it seems hard to believe that the Braves would give a starting pitcher to the Mets.
If we're giving up Thompson, it seems that we would want more in return than Victor Diaz, who's not blowing anyone's socks off this spring. In the spirit of speculation allow me to lay a few more names out there that might be a good fit.
Joey Gathright is someone that would fit two needs at the same time, left fielder and lead-off man. Tampa Bay is in an endless pursuit of pitching, and may have interest in Horacio Ramirez, who still has several years before he's eligible for free agency. Gathright is the poor-man's Juan Pierre at this point in his career, but some team may be able to get more out of him than the D-Rays have.
I've said it before, and I'll say it here again, Brad Wilkerson would be a great fit in left field and leadoff for Atlanta. He of the .365 career OBP and 30 HR power, would not necessarily need to be used in the one hole, but could be used anywhere in the order. Strikeouts are the only downside with him.
Whatever the deal, there seems to be an intent to trade away one of the current starters to give Davies a spot in the rotation. The Foster injury may alter the trade plans somewhat. If Remlinger is not able to assume the second lefty spot in the bullpen, then the club may turn to Chuck James to fill that role, thus reducing the depth of our starting pitching. They may also choose to use that starter in a trade to acquire a left-hander for the bullpen. Schu is never afraid to pull off the end of spring trade, and this year seems like it won't be any different.