|Time to go to work, Frank!|
Today, the Braves called up Jose Constanza from Triple-A, and the 27 year old outfielder will make his Major League debut tonight. A career minor leaguer, Constanza is certainly not the answer to any of the Braves looming lineup issues.
About a month ago, I wrote this column cautioning Wren and the Braves not to give up the future for a rental player. The fluidity of the injury situation has me thinking that the Braves may need to make a move to avoid a playoff fate similar to 2010.
It's very obvious the Braves aren't going to trade top pitching prospects Julio Teheran, Randall Delgado or Arodys Vizcaino. Why they are reluctant to trade Mike Minor is surprising to me, however. In my opinion Minor projects as a 3rd starter and the Braves just drafted and signed college lefty Sean Gilmartin, a similar pitcher to Minor, maybe with a little less velocity. Rumor has it the Braves turned down a Minor for Beltran straight-up trade from the Mets, which if true, is crazy to me. I know the Braves don't want to face Minor inside the division each year, but that would have been a great deal for the Braves, given its stable of other pitching prospects.
It looks as though Wren's hand may be forced given the recent rash of injuries. Braves' eyes and ears are now turning to the likes of Hunter Pence, Carlos Quentin, B.J. Upton and Ryan Ludwick. Of these, Ludwick would be the cheapest and Pence the most costly. Houston is looking for multiple MLB-ready prospects and have already turned down a huge offer from the Phillies for Pence. The White Sox are in contention in the AL Central and won't be looking to dump Quentin for cheap. Tampa Bay is certainly willing to move Upton, and he could fill the need for a center fielder. The Braves may be able to pry Ludwick from San Diego for less than one of the prime pitching prospects.
Will Frank Wren step up and make a big move? My guess is yes, but how big all depends on whether or not he will move Mike Minor. If so, the Braves could get Quentin or Upton. If not, it could be Ludwick. It's safe to say that the next 48 hours will hold the key to the Braves' World Series potential.