AJC columnist Mark Bradley writes that the Braves should pass on trading for A’s outfielder Matt Holliday, which is a fine sentiment, but his logic is a little flawed.
And there’s no assurance Holliday would swing the 2009 division race any more than Teixeira did in 2007. (Albert Pujols would, but he’s not apt to be available.) There’s no great difference-maker to be had. This is baseball, where the difference-makers are starting pitchers, and the Braves have enough of those.
It’s true the Braves already have plenty of starting pitching. But they’ve got room for improvement on defense (-19 team UZR) and on offense (last in runs scored in the NL East). Maybe Matt Holliday isn’t the answer, but the Braves have plenty of questions outside of their rotation.
Here’s a thought: trade for Scott Rolen and move Chipper Jones and his -9.4 UZR to first base. Here’s what Fangraphs had to say about Rolen in a post on Tuesday:
Rolen is experiencing an inflated BABIP, raising his wOBA to .369 on the season. ZiPS suggests that’ll come back to Earth, but that he’s still an above average hitter moving forward. Gone are the days where Rolen would accumulate 15-20 runs on defense, but he’s still very much above average. So far his UZR/150 is 5.2, last year it was 8.5, and the year before 17.9.
Acquiring Rolen likely wouldn’t cost nearly as much as landing Holliday, and Rolen’s addition would drastically improve Atlanta’s infield defense. Moreover, replacing Kotchman with Rolen would improve Atlanta’s offense as well.
It’s just a thought. If the Braves don’t want Rolen, they they might trade for a new first baseman (Carlos Delgado, Aubrey Huff and Nick Johnson could all be available). The larger point is that pitchers are not the only impact players and the Braves need plenty of help.