Much time has been spent on the inadequacies of the Atlanta Braves’ production from center field. Nate Mclouth, Melky Cabrera and Rick Ankiel have been inadequate from an offensive standpoint. Ankiel has been an improvement on the defensive side, yet has continued to struggle at the plate.
Here are a few numbers to let you know how bad it has been in center field all season for the Atlanta Braves: For the year, through 137 games played, the Braves have had a .225 batting average, a .320 on base %, .316 slugging %, 4 HR, 38 rbis, 58 runs, and 7 stolen bases.
Here is the average for the majors: .259 batting average, .325 OBP, .403 slugging %, 13 HR, 57 rbis, 76 runs, and 21 stolen bases. The AL and NL have almost identical averages from the center field production. So, it is not like the AL has greatly improved the average.
Regardless, the Braves rank dead last in the majors in almost every center field category. What heightens this weakness is that they rank close to the bottom in left field production. For all who are counting at home, that is 2/3 of your outfield that ranks at the bottom of the league in offensive production.
Jason Heyward has been a savior of sorts for the Atlanta Braves outfield this season. He will finish in the top 5 in most offensive categories in right field in the national league and in the top half in the majors. Without his production, the Braves would definitely NOT be battling for a playoff spot.
I recently blogged about how the Braves have to figure out how to move Mclouth and Kawakami. Check out that post at www.tomahawktalk.com
Recently, Colby Rasmus has been reported as wanting to be traded away from the St. Louis Cardinals. He apparently does not get along with Tony LaRussa, which has been a common occurrence over the years.
I think it would be a smart move for the Braves to trade for Rasmus. Here is why:
1. He is from Alabama, so Atlanta would be much closer to home. Not everyone needs to be close to home. But some players are happier when they live closer to home. Tim Hudson has enjoyed living closer to his home rather than in Oakland.
2. He would bring a big upside to the outfield to put alongside Heyward in the Atlanta Braves’ lineup. Rasmus has a ton of hype surrounding him. He has also produced at a high level this season in spite of the clubhouse conflict.
3. He would be a huge upgrade over the Braves’ current center field. Here are his 2010 stats: .267 batting average, .351 OBP, .499 slugging %, 19 HR, 54 rbis, 67 runs and 10 stolen bases.
4. He is still young. He turned 24 in August.
The problem that he brings is the sure bet that the Cardinals would ask for a lot in return. We are not talking about low-upside guys. We are talking about players that are on the untouchable list.
It is possible that the Braves could move Jordan Schaefer as a part of the deal. That wouldn’t get the deal done, but it would be an enticing part of a deal. More than likely, they would almost certainly have to include a young stud pitcher: Julio Teheran, Randall Delgado, Aroydys Vizcaino, Craig Kimbrel or Mike Minor would need to be included.
Would it be worth the risk of bringing in a player that is immature and seemingly ungrateful for the opportunities that he has earned and received in St. Louis?
One thing is certain, the Braves could use his bat and he would be a huge help to Heyward, Freddie Freeman, Martin Prado and Brian McCann.