The trade deadline is Friday, July 31, and the Braves still have a couple of pieces that could be moved. Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson, two guys set to become free agents in two months, have already been shipped out to New York for a couple decent prospects and approximately $2.7 million in salary relief.
What's left for the Braves to do? Here's a trade deadline preview:
If you were to rank every active player in MLB 1 through 750 based on the likelihood of being traded this week, Johnson would probably be in the top-5.
The reasons are fairly obvious; late-inning relievers are always in demand this time of year and the Braves are clearly selling. John Hart should be able to get a nice piece in return for Johnson considering just about every playoff contender is looking for bullpen help.
Johnson departing also allows Arodys Vizcaino to take over the closer's role the final two months of the season. He seems like a natural fit for the 9th inning and can get some experience with minimal pressure.
The Braves have unsuccessfully tried to move Chris Johnson for a year. Considering his contract, it's hard to see him being dealt unless he accompanies a desirable player like Cameron Maybin or Julio Teheran (more on them below).
My money is on Johnson remaining with Atlanta through the end of the year and then being released, Dan Uggla style. I liked Frank Wren more than most but CJ's contract extension was so unbelievably stupid.
There are so few hitters known to be available right now that it probably makes more sense for Atlanta to hold onto him until the winter months (or beyond). There's really no rush with Maybin being under team control through 2017.
I wouldn't be shocked if Maybin is traded in the next few days – his value has arguably never been higher and the front office knows it – but it doesn't seem likely.
Teheran has been a different pitcher the last two months after a brutal start.
Since June 1, his ERA is 4.10 though his 3.22 FIP, 22.1 K% and 7.9 BB% are all great signs. In July, his swing-and-miss rate of 33.2% is 4th in MLB behind Francisco Liriano, Clayton Kershaw and Jose Fernandez. Decent company.
Even with the recent turnaround, trading Teheran now would be selling low. He won't be moved unless the Braves are blown away by an offer.
Like Uribe and Johnson, Pierzynski is a free agent in two months and seems like a good bet to re-up with Atlanta in the winter regardless of what happens this week.
AJP wouldn't fetch much (if anything) by himself, but he could be packaged with another player to sweeten the return a bit. He's enjoying one of the best seasons of his career and could be a nice bench addition for the playoff push.
Dealing Pierzysnki would also allow Christian Bethancourt to get another two months worth of big league starts under his belt.
Other (unlikely) candidates
Luis Avilan, Jonny Gomes