Atlanta Braves center field shopping: Ramon Laureano
By Fred Owens
The Atlanta Braves acquired three outfielders after the All-Star break but couldn’t acquire a true center fielder, which makes the hunt likely continue.
As Alan wrote a week ago, Atlanta Braves President of Baseball Operations/ General Manager Alex Anthopoulos wanted to add a true center fielder at the trade deadline, but no one wanted to make a deal; where’s Wayne Brady when you need him?
The club made it through the season, mixing and matching Guillermo Heredia, Joc Pederson, and finally Adam Duvall.
Heredia added personality but is at best a fourth outfielder. Duvall made one great catch in center, but he’s best in a corner outfield slot, and there’s no guarantee he’ll be back. Joc’s days as a starter in center are in the past, and he’s also a free agent.
Internally, Cristian Pache’s glove plays at any level, but his bat has yet to reach Major League quality. Drew Waters continued to strike out over 30% of the time and posted a 56.9% ground ball rate, culminating in a .240/.329/.381/.710 line, a .321 wOBA, and 94 wRC+ for Gwinnett.
While it’s not time to give up on either player, Anthopoulos knows the team still needs that true centerfielder. The cost and age of a free agent center look higher than the Braves would pay.
Starlin Marte is 33, turned down an age offer from the Marlins during the season; after Marte, the free-agent market is pretty thin, which brings us to trades.
The Pirates aren’t going to trade Reynolds, and the Orioles aren’t going to trade Mullins, making the list of quality candidates short. The list improved when Athletics GM David Forst said the store was open.
The Athletics in sell mode made me smile because I’ve liked Ramon Laureano for a long time.