MLB Atlanta Braves

5 Players the Atlanta Braves May Wish They Still Had

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5 Players the Atlanta Braves May Wish They Still Had

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When the Atlanta Braves begin a three-game weekend series with the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday in Atlanta, Braves starting pitcher Mike Minor will be opposed by one of the best pitchers in baseball, St. Louis' Adam Wainwright, who is 13-5 with a 2.44 ERA and is currently one of the favorites to win the National League Cy Young Award.

With Tuesday's trade deadline fast approaching and the recent season-ending right ankle injury suffered by starter Tim Hudson, the Braves may look to acquire another starter. Of course, they won't be able to find anybody the caliber of Wainwright, who they traded to the Cardinals in Dec. 2003 as part of a five-player deal.

The 6-foot-7, 235-pound right-hander from Brunswick, GA was drafted by his hometown team with the 29th pick of the 2000 MLB Draft but never made it to the major leagues before he was shipped to St. Louis.

Over the past several years, Wainwright has teamed with veteran righty Chris Carpenter to give the Redbirds one of the best starting duos in baseball -- at least, when they've been healthy -- and the club has notched two World Series championships during that time, winning titles in 2006 and 2011.

With all that said, Wainwright isn't the only player the Braves have traded away in the last decade. There are several current major leaguers who were once a part of their organization and are now contributing at a high level for other teams.

Here's a look at 5 players the Braves may wish they still had, beginning with Wainwright.

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Adam Wainwright

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The 31-year-old Wainwright was a closer during St. Louis' 2006 championship season and missed the entire 2011 championship campaign after undergoing Tommy John surgery. But he has gone 93-53 with a 3.06 ERA in his big league career, tallying 1,045 strikeouts along the way. In addition, he has reached double digits in wins in each of the six seasons in which he has made 20 or more starts.

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Jason Marquis

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A 34-year-old native of Manhasset, NY, Jason Marquis was also part of the Wainwright deal, but he made his major league debut while he was still with the Braves, serving as their fifth starter for a few seasons before being dealt to the Cardinals. Over the past several years he has also spent time with the Chicago Cubs, Colorado Rockies, Washington Nationals, Arizona Diamondbacks, Minnesota Twins and now the San Diego Padres. For his career he is 121-114 with a 4.56 ERA and 1,137 strikeouts, although he's currently out with a serious right elbow injury.

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Jarrod Saltalamacchia

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In July 2007, switch-hitting catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia was traded to the Texas Rangers along with shortstop Elvis Andrus and pitchers Neftali Feliz and Matt Harrison for first baseman Mark Teixeira and reliever Ron Mahay, with the former ultimately signing with the New York Yankees after less than half a season in Atlanta. While he has never hit for a high average, "Salty" did well enough in Texas that the Boston Red Sox agreed to trade for him on July 31, 2010. He is now the starting catcher for the Red Sox and is batting .259 with eight home runs and 37 RBI this season.

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Elvis Andrus

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Andrus and Feliz were both in the minor leagues when the Braves dealt them to the Rangers, which in hindsight may have been a bad decision given how highly regarded they were. Although Atlanta now has Andrelton Simmons as its starting shortstop, were Andrus were still around, he would likely serve as the club's regular shortstop and give it a more prototypical leadoff man. In five seasons with the Rangers, he has a combined batting average of .271 and an on-base percentage of .338 to go with 144 stolen bases, an average of nearly 29 swipes per year.

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Neftali Feliz

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After back-to-back 30-plus save seasons -- including 40 in 2010 -- Feliz moved to Texas' rotation this season, where he made seven starts before going down with a right elbow injury that he's just about ready to return from. In those seven starts he was 3-1 with an ERA just above 3.00, which is solid for a guy in his first season as a big league starter.