The MLB trade deadline is just over a month away and when the imaginary line between buyers and sellers is drawn, the Atlanta Braves may be one of the teams that is straddling the fence. Currently the Braves find themselves in an interesting position. They aren't completely out of contention although their play in June has been less than optimistic, yet they are clearly proceeding with an eye on the future. Still, they insist that they will not tank this season to finance future success.
Assistant GM John Coppolella discussed his team's path with MLB.com's Mark Bowman and reiterated that the number of roster moves that the team has made shows that they are trying to win now while simultaneously building for the future.
"We don't want to lose 100 games or put our fan base through any type of extended suffering," Coppolella said. "We are trying to walk two parallel roads: making this team better and building for the future. So, it's one eye on the present and two eyes on the future."
Atlanta's cost cutting moves this past summer have allowed moves like the one made earlier this month with the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Braves dealt for injured pitcher Bronson Arroyo and his $9.5 million contract along with pitching prospect Touki Toussaint.
Atlanta has several players like closer Jason Grilli or Kelly Johnson who could be attractive to other teams. However, according to Coppolella, the team doesn't just plan to dump players and any move made will be in the best interest of the franchise. He even hints that the team may not be quite as active as they have been.
"When we get to the Trade Deadline, we won't look to ship out everyone who is on a free-agent contract or everybody who is over the age of 30," Coppolella said. "We're going to look to make good solid baseball trades that will be made in the best interest of this franchise. I don't know if we'll be as active as we have been previously. We'll see what comes up at the Deadline, but by no means will we totally gut this team."
We are still a month out and the situation could further change. If Atlanta slips further out of the race, they should be more inclined to part ways with some of their veteran players. For now though, it appears they are keeping their options open.