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Atlanta Braves news and links: Grilli goes to the Great White North

The Braves made another trade yesterday, and this time Jason Grilli is the one who is leaving town.

MLB: Atlanta Braves at Toronto Blue Jays Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports


Giants top Braves in brisk pitchers duel

Both Matt Wisler and Jake Peavy were on top of their respective games on Tuesday evening, to the point where the first seven innings of this game just flew by. You could've blinked and you probably would've missed that portion of the game. However, things stalled in the eighth inning which is when the Giants broke through for three runs. They ended up winning 4-0, and the Braves only got one hit off of Peavy on the night.

Braves trade Jason Grilli to Blue Jays

Jason Grilli will now be plying his trade across the border in Canada, as the Blue Jays acquired Grilli from the Braves in exchange for minor leaguer Sean Ratcliffe. In addition, the Blue Jays will be paying Grilli the league minimum on his contract, while the Braves pay the rest.

Nick Markakis' power outage has continued into 2016

The black mark on Nick Markakis' debut season with the Braves was that he had little-to-no power in his bat. However, the hope was that with a full offseason to train, that power would return in his second season. While that was the case for the first couple of weeks of the season, it appears that this has become Markakis' profile as a hitter.

While it is still "early" in the 2016 campaign, the two stretches combine to paint a bit of a disturbing picture for a player that is, fairly or unfairly, characterized as Atlanta's number two bat behind Freddie Freeman. Through Memorial Day, Nick Markakis boasts an .093 ISO with a .339 slugging percentage, and while (again) his on-base percentage is more than acceptable at .350, it is becoming increasingly difficult to believe that the veteran will ever produce significantly above-average offensive value again.

Perhaps the bigger issue, though, is in the entire package of Markakis' contributions. His offense, on its own, is probably acceptable simply because Atlanta can deploy a player that will get on base 35 percent of the time at the top of the lineup. However, Markakis is a below-average (to be kind) defensive outfielder at this point, and as he occupies a position traditionally associated with power offensively, that is a glaring issue moving forward.

Markakis and Freddie Freeman could change Atlanta's fortunes this season

Speaking of Markakis, there's still a slight bit of hope that he could possibly get better. Meanwhile, there's plenty of hope that Freddie Freeman can break out of his slump and start performing at the level that we expect. Either way, those two were identified as prime candidates to help the Braves improve this year. If they keep playing like they have, then things could get even nastier during the Braves' final season at Turner Field.

Dansby Swanson headlines list of next wave of MLB shortstops

Our friends at Beyond the Box Score decided to take a trip to the farm to take a look at who they figure are the five most promising shortstop prospects in all of baseball. Dansby Swanson made the list, which should give us yet another reason to be excited about 1st overall pick from the 2015 MLB Draft.

Through 220 plate appearances in the lower levels, he has 10 steals and is showing improved power with five home runs. In Double-A the results are much the same as High-A. Defensively, Swanson should stick, and if he does, will knock top-30 prospect Ozzie Albies off the position when both arrive for Atlanta's own second coming of success.


Christian Bethancourt pitches for Padres in blowout loss to Mariners

By the fifth inning of Tuesday afternoon's game between the Mariners and Padres, Seattle was up by 16 runs. James Shields had a horrible start, and the Padres burnt through their entire bullpen. As a result, this meant that they had to lean on their position players to pitch, which meant that former Brave Christian Bethancourt had to pitch. This was an absolute treat to watch, though. Bethancourt was hitting the mid-90s on the radar gun with relative ease and even threw a few wrinkles in by throwing a knuckleball and an eephus pitch. What a time to be alive.

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