From the only Braves beat writer covering the GM Meetings, here are some highlights:
The Braves will NOT trade both Escobar and Kelly Johnson this offseason, though that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t trade one.
Braves are getting calls and inquiries into availability of Jeff Francoeur, mostly from teams curious as to what it would take to get the erstwhile Golden Boy (hint: more than it would take to get Just Any Guy who produced stats as woeful as Francoeur’s in 2008). I wouldn’t call it actively shopping him, but I also wouldn’t argue much with anyone who characterized it that way.
The Braves met with Mike Hampton’s agent Tuesday, and both sides understand Hampton will see what else is out there but would like to come back to Atlanta if he doesn’t get as good or better offer from a team closer to his kids in Arizona.
There’s a couple other Japanese pitchers who are about to become free agents and might have interest from the Braves, but these are guys in their early 30s, who’ve gone through the eight years in the Japanese professional league to get their free agency (as opposed to Junichi Tazawa, 22, who the Braves just made a multi-year offer, a right-hander who’s going straight from Japan’s industrial league to America, which doesn’t sit well with Japanese pro-league folks, by the way.
And finally, the latest on the Jake Peavy trade:
Would a package of Escobar and, say, pitchers Kris Medlen and Charlie Morton, plus another lesser prospect, get the Peavy deal done? I’m going to go out on a limb and say probably so, because Escobar is regarded highly around baseball. More highly than some Braves fans might realize, folks who got a little turned off at times during his injury-plagued and occasionally temper-flaring season.
That seems like a weak package for Peavy, unless the Padres have tunnel vision for Escobar and see him as some sort of building block they must have.