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Atlanta Braves news and links - 7/7

The Braves broke Milwaukee's hot streak last night. Also, they avoided being cursed by a historical online figure. Yesterday was a good day for the Braves!

Mike McGinnis/Getty Images


Braves end Brewers' eight-game winning streak with early burst of offense

Even though the Milwaukee Brewers came into this game in last place in the NL Central, they were also riding a wave of eight straight victories. The Braves, however, made sure that it wouldn't get stretched to nine straight, as they ended up beating Milwaukee by the score of 5-3. Atlanta did most of their damage in the early stages of the game, as they scored four runs in the first two innings. The four runs in those two frames ended up being enough since Milwaukee could only muster three.

Shelby Miller will represent the Braves at the All-Star Game

Every MLB team has to have a representative at the All-Star Game, so even though the Braves didn't get a player voted into the starting lineup, they'll have a player there as a reserve. That player is Shelby Miller. Miller's had a 2.07 ERA and a 3.08 FIP this season, and is eleventh in all of baseball (among starting pitchers) in strand rate (he's left 80% of runners on base). According to fWAR, Miller's been the Braves best pitcher this season (2.2 fWAR), so he's being duly rewarded with a trip to Cincinnati to represent the Braves at the All-Star Game. Congratulations to Shelby Miller! It's well deserved!

In the mean time, here's me freaking out about the Braves trading for Shelby Miller. I'm totally smart about baseball, y'all.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">FOR SHELBY MILLER&#10;THE BEST DEFENSIVE OUTFIELDER IN BASEBALL FOR SHELBY MILLER&#10;&#10;FOR SHELBY MILLER</p>&mdash; Ricky Dreamboat (@fergoe) <a href="">November 17, 2014</a></blockquote>

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The Cameron Maybin Conundrum

Yesterday in this space, I talked about how Cameron Maybin himself said that he didn't want to be traded from what was turning into a comfortable situation with the Braves. However, that could still be an option for Atlanta this season. According to Scott, the Braves have four options: 1) Sell high on him in order to build the farm; 2) Sell high on him to clear money (a.k.a. get Chris Johnson out of here); 3) Keep Maybin but trade him in the offseason; 4) Keep Maybin, period. We'll see what the Braves choose to do, but they're definitely in a nice position right now.

The Braves will have an "interesting" trade deadline

Speaking of the trade deadline, the Braves will definitely have plenty of eyes on them once that date comes up. Atlanta's in a weird position right now: They're obviously not horrible this season and they're probably not going to be in the hunt for the Postseason (unless they go on an extended run sometime soon), but they're also clearly building for the future. So what exactly are the Braves going to do? FOX Sports is trying to figure it out:

In short, it seems like the Braves aren’t traditional buyers or sellers – they’re looking to improve their team in both 2015 and the future. As such, I wouldn’t expect the team to break the bank for someone like Jeff Samardzija or any other impending free agent. Doing so would be solely a short-term move made to push the team into the 2015 playoffs, and given that six strong teams are ahead of the Braves in the postseason race, going all-in on this year wouldn’t be advisable. But acquiring a younger, cost-controlled player at the deadline? That might be more plausible. The problem is that there aren’t many players like that out there that fit the bill.

What *should* the Braves do? If I was in John Hart’s shoes, I would make moving Johnson’s contract my top priority. By baseball standards, it’s not outrageous – heck, if Johnson was even a league average player, it wouldn’t look bad at all. He’s owed the balance on a $6 million salary in 2015 and $17.5 million in 2016 and 2017, which includes a $1 million buyout on a 2018 club option. As a comparison, Bronson Arroyo was owed the balance on a $9.5 million salary in 2015 and a $4.5 million buyout in 2016 when the Braves took him on last month. If Atlanta wants to move Johnson and his salary, they’re going to either have to eat part of the contract - which would be a bit counterproductive - or give up a prospect comparable to Touki Toussaint, who came over with Arroyo from the Diamondbacks.

Braves trade Kurcz in order to sign international prospect

On Monday, the Braves made a few moves aimed at building organizational depth. First off, they traded minor league reliever Aaron Kurcz to the Oakland A's for international bonus pool money. They used that to sign 16-year old international prospect Juan Morales. Also, in an effort to fill the void of Kurcz, the Braves traded cash to the Astros for Mitch Lambson.

Braves acknowledge that they are borrowing Lil B's Cooking Dance; Get blessed

In what is not only the biggest story of the Braves season, but also arguably the biggest story in Braves franchise history, Lil B has blessed the Braves. This is a huge development for the Braves as an organization, because we all saw what happened to James Harden and the Houston Rockets in the NBA Playoffs when he refused to acknowledge Lil B. Now that the Braves have paid tribute and avoided being cursed, it's World Series or bust, baby! Let's go!

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">RT respect atl brave family your team and organization and staff have true honor <a href="">@Braves</a> <a href=""></a> - Lil B</p>&mdash; Lil B From The Pack (@LILBTHEBASEDGOD) <a href="">July 7, 2015</a></blockquote>

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Check out the minor league recap


Jose Reyes' Bill Buckner impression leads to Blue Jays loss in Chicago

In the eighth inning of last night's game between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Chicago White Sox, the Blue Jays were holding on to a tender 2-1 lead. Gordon Beckham led off the inning for the Sox and hit a harmless grounder right to Jose Reyes. In Bucknerian fashion, the ball skipped through Reyes' legs and the White Sox were in business. The Jays were unable to keep Beckham from scoring, and they also added two more runs in the inning to boot. In the end, the White Sox ended up winning 4-2, and Jose Reyes probably wants that particular play back.

Trade floodgates should open after Reds start making deals

The Cincinnati Reds currently have two of the biggest trade chips on the market right now: Johnny Cueto and Aroldis Chapman. With that being said, the Reds are currently sitting on them and only plan on dealing them after the All-Star Break. It's holding up trade traffic, and our friends at Red Reporter believe that the Reds should stop messing around and just deal them as soon as possible since there's little-to-no chance that those two will be staying with Cincy in the offseason.

If there's a hard deadline that's been put in place for all potential deals and said deadline comes after the city of Cincinnati gets to host the All Star Game, either the front office of the Reds is prioritizing having Reds players in the All Star Game more than them being healthy trade chips, or the front office is deluded enough to think the next week's worth of games still has significant bearing on whether the Reds can be a contender in 2015.  Or both, if you're way into baseball masochism.

You can bend your mind a bit to see that the Reds' unwillingness to yield carries with it a bit of admirability, at least in a Spartan sort of way.  Perhaps they're determined to fight until the end against all odds in some grandiose attempt at generating pride through unsuccessful stubbornness.  Perhaps the front office came across a spare $200 million that the rest of the world is unaware of and they plan on using it to keep the likes of Johnny Cueto and Aroldis Chapman around for the rest of their playing days.

Or perhaps the insistent patience from the Cincinnati front office to prioritize a 2015 season that isn't going anywhere will, in turn, cost the team and their fans any chance at a successful 2016, 2017, or 2018.

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