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Jason Bay in the Braves Crosshairs

From MLB's Mark Bowman:

The Braves scored 27 runs during this past weekend's series in Philadelphia and won just once.  Things certainly might have been different had they had Chipper Jones and Jason Bay in their lineup.

Jones was sidelined by a strained left hamstring and Bay was stuck in Pittsburgh because Pirates ownership was reluctant to move him. 

Before the start of Friday's game, many of the Braves players were asking about Bay.  Some were under the impression that they were going to walk into the clubhouse that day and find him to be their newest teammate. 

But a proposed deal, which would have brought Bay to Atlanta in exchange for four Minor Leaguers, was killed when presented to the Pirates owners for approval.

Still as the week progresses, the Braves will continue to pursue  Bay, who is set to earn $7.5 million during the final year of his contract next year. 

The Pirates would have a definite interest in shortstop Brent Lillibridge, who they developed before trading him to the Braves in exchange for Adam LaRoche last year. 

In addition, they'd likely ask for Brandon Jones, who would be considered a Major League-ready outfielder.  He hit .278 (15-for-54) with seven extra-base hits, including a homer, in 16 games with Atlanta earlier this year.

To complete the deal the Braves would likely also have to include one of their talented young pitchers from the Class A level and another marginal position player.

It depends on who the young pitchers are, but Lillibridge and Jones plus two young arms for Bay is probably an acceptable package to give up (and also acceptable to us the fans). I don't think that the Braves have the patience to wait for Brandon Jones to develop, and Brent Lillibridge at this point is simply insurance -- albeit valuable insurance -- against an injury to Yunel Escobar. We have plenty of young arms in the minors, so it would be interesting to see who would be the two lower level talents that would have gone (or would go) in the deal.

I've thought for a long time that the Braves were protecting Brandon Jones from showing too much in the major leagues, in the hopes of keeping him as an untarnished trade chip. If we need offense and power in the outfield, then why isn't he in the majors at least attempting to provide that?

As for Bay, well, I think we'd be fools not to try and acquire him... even if we trade Teixeira. But if we're trying to improve this team for this year, then my thoughts are that it will take a lot more than just Jason Bay to do that. Again, like the Teixeira deal last year, this is a deal for this season and next season.

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