Why Trade Martin Prado?

It seems that the Atlanta Braves are intent on dealing Martin Prado this offseason. So far, Prado has been mentioned in trade talks with Kansas City (along with Jair Jurrjens for Lorenzo Cain and Wil Myers), with Colorado (for Seth Smith and a prospect) and with Detroit (for Delmon Young). Braves GM Frank Wren hasn’t found the right match for the 28-year-old yet — the Young rumor was shot down quickly — but a number of teams are likely to be interested in Prado if Wren continues to shop him. In fact, ESPN’s Buster Olney quotes an AL team’s official who favorably compares Prado to free-agent outfielder Michael Cuddyer. Trading Prado surely should be easy, but it begs the question: Why is Wren so anxious to get rid of his super-utility player?

The answer perhaps is difficult to understand, considering that Prado is a versatile defender who also has been productive offensively. He has a career wOBA of .337 and has compiled 10 WAR in three-and-half seasons of full-time play. He’s serviceable at both second and third base and is an above-average left fielder when you look at data from this past season. Prado is under team control for at least two  years, and he’s projected to make a budget-friendly $4.5 million in 2012. Additionally, the Braves don’t have an immediate replacement for Prado in the outfield — or in his other role as a  third base fill-in when the aging, oft-injured Chipper Jones needs time off. The Braves were in the bottom half of the N.L. in runs scored in 2011 and their outfielders’ combined .300 wOBA was last in the league. Needless to say, it’s not like the Braves are overstocked with productive outfield bats.

But Prado does come with some negatives: Most important, he has struggled to stay healthy. He missed 16 games in 2010 with a broken finger, then came back and suffered a severe oblique injury that kept him out of the playoffs. In 2011, he missed 31 games after he needed a surgical procedure to help clear up a nasty staph infection in his right calf. Perhaps as a result of the lingering effects of the oblique and the calf injuries, Prado slumped to his worst season as a professional, hitting .260/.302/.385 with a .296 wOBA in 129 games this year. Outside of his injuries, Prado doesn’t have the power that teams typically look for in corner players. In fact, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Dave O’Brien suggests that Prado’s lack of power is why he’s being shopped. This seems to be a clear case of the Braves focusing on what a player cannot do, rather than what he can do. Prado might not be a classic slugger, but if he hits like he did in 2009 (.355 wOBA) and in 2010 (.352 wOBA) he’s clearly an asset with the bat — even if his hits often don’t leave the yard.

So what could a team reasonably expect to get out of him? In terms of health, oblique injuries are known to recur, but broken fingers and staph infections don’t tend to be chronic injuries. As such, there’s no extant reason to expect Prado to miss significant time in 2012. Bill James projects Prado’s to bounce back offensively in 2012 and sport a .289/.339/.423 triple-slash and a .333 wOBA. Is there any reason to think that James is being too optimistic about Prado’s 2012? Maybe. Prado’s walk rate has declined in each of the past four seasons — from 8.3% in 2008 to 5.8% in 2011. James forecasts a 6.9% walk rate next year, but Prado’s increasing aggressiveness at the plate would be a concern for any non-power hitter.

Still, despite swinging at many more pitches in 2011, his strikeout rate declined considerably — from 13.2% in 2010 to 8.8% in 2011. Compared with previous years, Prado in 2011 put many more balls in play. Unfortunately for Prado and the Braves, the results weren’t pretty: Prado posted a career low .266 BABIP, compared with .335 in 2010, .331 in 2009 and .357 in 2008. The primary culprit seems to be his line-drive percentage, which fell from 21.0% in 2010 to a career low of 14.6%. Given the low year-to-year correlation in line-drive percentage, there’s no reason to expect that Prado would have such a low BABIP next year.

So how does Prado compare to his rumored 2012 replacements? Bill James projects that Delmon Young will provide essentially identical offensive production as Prado — .332 wOBA for Young; .333 for Prado. Young, though, is one of the worst defensive outfielders in baseball and he can’t play the infield. That might be one reason why the Young rumor died so quickly. Seth Smith has posted good offensive numbers in Colorado, but he has a severe platoon split. His career wOBA is .377 against right-handed pitching, but it’s only .262 against lefties. Smith would make a good platoon partner with lefty masher Matt Diaz (.374 career wOBA), but unless the Rockies send an impact prospect along with Smith, trading a versatile player such as Prado for a guy who needs a platoon partner is not an optimal strategy.

There’s little doubt that the Braves can find a taker for Prado. But given that the team seems to undervalue his skills, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Atlanta fail to get fair value for him. And that would be an ominous sign for a team looking to put its 2011 meltdown behind them.




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I am political science professor at the University of North Carolina. I grew up watching the Braves on TBS and acquired Red Sox fandom during the 1986 World Series. My other hobbies include cooking, good red wine, curing meats, and obsessing over Alabama football---Roll Tide! Follow me on Twitter @ProfJRoberts.


77 Responses to “Why Trade Martin Prado?”

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  1. Dwight S. says:

    Unfortunately as a Tigers fan its starting to look like Atlanta isn’t dumb enough to trade Prado for Elmon Young like what was rumored.

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  2. TK says:

    Long story short: trading Prado would be a horrible idea. Trade Jurrjens if you need to clear 5 million or want a CF prospect for when Bourn likely leaves.

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  3. Kevin S. says:

    “Why Trade Martin Prado?”

    Because Frank Wren has an acute case of Kenny Williams-itis, buying high and selling low whenever he gets the chance.

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    • Dekker says:

      Like when he got Javy Vazquez, Michael Bourn, Derek Lee, and Arodys Vizcaino for next to nothing…

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      • Luke M says:

        Don’t forget when he got Jurrjens and Omar Infante (later Dan Uggla) for a declining Edgar Renteria.

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      • Kevin S. says:

        You know Derek Lee was terrible, right? And Vizcaino was a pretty raw thrower, typically a poor exchange for a pitcher coming off a CYA-caliber season. Unless the market somehow understood that Vazquez was about to lose 4 mph on his fastball, Wren not only sold low, but he sold low when he should have been able to sell high. Also, are we going to ignore Nate McLouth, Yunel Escobar, Mark Teixeira (twice) and Kelly Johnson? Wren has a pretty long history of buying high and selling low. I never said every deal he did was terrible, just that he often moves players at sub-optimal times.

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      • Luke M says:

        Teixiera (twice) is wrong. First time was on Schuerholz.

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      • cthabeerman says:

        Derrek Lee was terrible?? If .287/.384/.465 is terrible, count me in. If a .374 wOBA, 133 wRC+, and 130 OPS+ are horrible, sign me up.

        Vizcaino was considered a huge talent with questionable injury history. It was definitely not a sell-low situation on Vazquez.

        Wren only handled one of the Teixeira trades, not both. He handled the half that didn’t give away three future starters to the Rangers.

        Vazquez and McLouth are comparable in that both were playing excellent pre-trade and both flopped. That happens occasionally.

        Yunel was a special case, obviously. If you have a player that has done everything in his power to piss off everyone in the clubhouse (make no mistake – the players hated Yunel, too), you have to cut the guy loose. Pastornicky could still end up being a very useful player, so it’s not an utter disaster.

        -C

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      • Kevin S. says:

        My bad on the first Teixeira deal. That said, not sure if you can give him credit for Derek Lee turning it around when he looked really old the first half of the year yet not ding him for McLouth predictably regressing. And Escobar’s issues weren’t recent ones, but they waited until his value was at its nadir before they moved him.

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      • Bronnt says:

        Vazquez deal was a coup, but it’s hard to say that getting Michael Bourn was anything other than buying high-at the time of the deal, Bourn’s .351 wOBA was higher than he’s ever finished a season, and it was in a tough year for hitters. Similarly, he traded for Derrek Lee because of one the Braves’ scouts happened to be in St. Louis on a weekend to look at him when he hit 4 home runs in 3 games. They traded for him the next day. Not that Lee was still at his peak value, of course.

        And a much stronger rebuttal is that he signed Derek Lowe to a huge deal coming off of a career year, refused to trade him after his first start in May of 2011 when his ERA was 3.20 and there was market for his services. He traded Yunel Escobar when his value bottomed out for Alex Gonzalez at the highest his value has ever been in his entire career. He cut Kelly Johnson, just let him walk, after a rough 2009 season. And now, after a very injured season from Jair Jurrjens and a down year from Martin Prado, he’s putting both of them on the block.

        He’s a fine enough GM, sure, but he’s not great, and you have to say that he’s had a trend for buying high and selling low.

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      • Antonio Bananas says:

        “He refused to trade Derek Lowe” in may. Yea, when a guy comes off an incredibly hot september in 2010 that got you in the playoffs and pitches in such a way that being old shouldn’t matter as much (location and smarts and not power).

        So basically “in hindsight when most people weren’t even considering a deal and there really weren’t a lot of signs for the decision, Wren should have been able to tell the future”. Gotcha, that makes sense.

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      • Kevin S. says:

        He should have traded Lowe because the Braves had the capacity to replace even that four-month peak value production internally for peanuts compared to Lowe’s contract (1/6 of Atlanta’s payroll). Instead, he waited for his value to bottom out, then ate 2/3 of the money remaining to move him, selling low on yet another player.

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    • Nevin says:

      You’re wrong. Wren’s not been perfect, but trading and allowing a good draft and development to run are things he’s done well. Free Agency, less so. But better that than the other.

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  4. Person says:

    I have a hard time believing that Frank Wren ever actually considered a Young for Prado trade. As it was stated, the rumors were shot down very quickly.

    What needs to happen is an Uggla move to LF, and Prado back to 2nd. Uggla is athletic enough to cover the outfield well, and Prado’s bat fits 2nd much better. Defensively the Braves would go from slightly above average LF and horrible 2nd baseman to decent at both positions, with Uggla possibly being able to be slightly above average.

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    • Dang says:

      Uggla’s value is tied to his production as a 2nd baseman. His bat doesn’t isn’t elite in LF. Besides explain how it upgrades the offense (which is the driving force in behind moving Prado anyways) when we don’t change players, just ask players to switch positions. If FW was worried about Uggla’s defense at 2nd, he wouldn’t have traded and/or signed him to an extension.

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      • Anon21 says:

        But if he’s a bad defender at second base, and we’re assuming the current roster (or at least the Uggla and Prado part) is a fixed constraint, what does it matter that Uggla provides less WAR in LF? With a certain roster, you have a fixed quantity of true talent offense and defense. The offense doesn’t seem to change unless you put a guy at catcher or DH. The defense most definitely changes–different players are suited for different roles. Thus, you need to put players in the best defensive position to succeed, and Uggla at 2B isn’t that.

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      • westprice says:

        uggla has limited range, but he showed some incredible determination at 2nd, freeman helped both he and gonzalez on some scoops. i like uggla at 2nd, but how can you say he’s an average hitter in the OF? 36 homers. he would have had a lot more RBIs if we had gotten a good 1rst and 2nd hitter sooner. and no, not constanza. he might be a capable back-up with great speed but he won’t ever start. we might as well get rid of jurrjens. any other agent, i say give him a shot. boras isn’t any agent though.. unfortunately. *sigh* well, he’s in his late 20s so he might drop in steals soon.

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  5. Surrealistic Pillow says:

    As a Braves fan, I agree completely with this post. Trading Prado makes no sense unless the Braves receive an impact player at either LF or SS in return — neither of which seems likely to happen. As the author suggested, the names linked to Prado not only fail to represent an upgrade over him at LF as such, but they also lack the flexibility that makes Prado so valuable to this team.

    If the Braves trade Prado, they are going to look awfully foolish when Chipper misses his annual 40-70 games. Do they really want Brooks Conrad to be an integral member of next season’s offense?

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  6. Shawn says:

    In my opinion, there seems this seems to be a perception driven philosphy. The perception is that Prado’s offesive numbers are not good enough for left field, thus we need to trade his utility ability for a better offensive contributor. I use the word perception because Prado gives quality second offense as a left fielder, while Dan uggla gives quality Left field production as a second baseman. This is a fact that needs to be remembered, simply because the Braves are trying to improve the offense overall. Just because Prado plays left and Uggla plays second should not downgrade Prado’s value by the braves settling for a Smith or Delmon young because they can supply more power. Wren needs to stay the course, and only do a deal that will improve the overall talent of the team, not just left field production.

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    • Luke M says:

      The issue there is that Dan Uggla gives you terrible defense at 2B, while Prado’s best two defensive positions (2B and 3B) are currently blocked.

      Much of Prado’s value is tied in his glove and his ability to adequately field two infield positions.

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  7. mister_rob says:

    I think the 2011 Prado is closer to the 2012 and beyond Prado than the 2010 is
    This guy was never all that impressive in the minors. didnt post an 800 ops at any level ever. He plays alot of positions but doesnt play any of them in a terrific fashion. He had a good couple years in the majors, but as was pointed out, his obp and ops are on 4 year slides.

    Im thinking the Braves are pretty comfortable that they can find a 700ops-ish utility guy rather cheaply. A guy like Blake Dewitt will probably be non-tendered.

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    • Hason Jeyward says:

      Since we have better stats than just OPS available so conveniently on this site, let’s use them.

      2007 (AAA) – .357 wOBA
      2008 (MLB) – .367 wOBA
      2009 (MLB) – .355 wOBA
      2010 (MLB) – .352 wOBA
      2011 (MLB) – .296 wOBA

      Is there something in his 2011 performance that would indicate that those 590 PAs are closer to his true talent level than the previous 1,800+?

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      • mister_rob says:

        Yes
        do you expect him to revert back to the 335-360 BABIP player he was the previous years?

        Stats show he is walking less each year and swinging more (but making contact). That tells me he has fallen into the trap of swinging at pitchers pitches, which means he isnt going to produce anymore 340ish BABips

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      • Hason Jeyward says:

        His O-swing percentage rose 2.5% between 2010 and 2011, and his O-contact percentage rose less than 1%. That’s enough to account for drop in BABIP from .330 to .266?

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      • Tommy says:

        Maybe getting away from the numbers could help. Prado looked like he was trying to poke the ball last year, especially when he was batting second. The year before (when Prado batted leadoff) it seemed like he was taking more pitches and getting a ball that he could drive. My theory explains the lowered K%, lowered BB%, lowered LD%, and overall production as a whole

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      • Bronnt says:

        I think we’re still making the case for explaining the firing of Larry Parrish

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      • Dan says:

        I think the staph infection is your explanation for 2011. The BABIP was low for Prado to start the season but it bottomed out after he came back from the staph infection. It looks to me like he just wasn’t hitting the ball with authority.

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    • shred the gnar says:

      Rob, in six minor league and major league ‘stints’ where Prado has had at least 200 PAs he has BABIPs of:

      .310
      .343
      .357
      .331
      .335
      .266

      One of these things is not like the others…

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      • The Real Neal says:

        .310 is closer to .266 than .357. Two of of those things are not like the others. What you have there is six data points that are not untypical of any six points of data grabbed at random from a larger sample.

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      • Kevin S. says:

        Um… if the second-lowest point is (basically) the same distance from the lowest point as it is from the highest point, that lowest point is an outlier.

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      • NS says:

        Every time you people mention his anomalous BABIP without mentioning his compatibly anomalous LD%…well, nothing happens really. But it’s a dumb thing to do.

        You need to explain why his LD% should be expected to rebound, not observe the outlier BABIP and imply it will just self-correct.

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  8. harpago17 says:

    I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that Prado’s greatest value comes as a 2nd baseman. As it currently stands, Atlanta has no place for Prado at 2nd base, but instead must play him in left field. It’s possible for Atlanta to not get “full” value for Prado, yet still come out ahead through trade, due to the fact that the excess value Prado would create playing 2b over LF stands to be lost if he remains in Atlanta. So Atlanta could receive, let’s say 90% of the value of Prado as a 2b, but that might be equal to 110% of his value as a LF, making it a “win-win” for both teams in the trade.

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  9. nsacpi says:

    Wren gave an interview last week that indicates he is not looking to move Prado. He will listen to offers obviously. But he was quite specific regarding his plans for the outfield. He wants an outfielder who is in between a regular and fourth outfielder so there is not much of a falloff when Prado goes to third for Chipper.

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    • sheath1976 says:

      Carl Crawford for Jurgens straight up? Carl is a regular/fourth outfielder tweener. I think it’s to early to write off Jurgens.

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      • drewcorb says:

        Hahaha. Is this a joke? Why would you consider Crawford to be on the cusp of being a 4th OF? I think there are many years of data to the contrary.

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      • sheath1976 says:

        yeah its a joke. I just don’t like the contract. He’s not a fourth outfielder but he’s not a superstar either. He is what he is and that’s a 4 WAR outfielder heading for decline phase.

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  10. k26dp says:

    Prado wasn’t the only Brave to see a reduction in K%, BB%, LD%, and BABiP. All Braves regulars showed the same trend. I conclude that the Braves coaching “braintrust” placed an emphasis on putting the ball in play that overall damaged Braved offensive output.

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  11. Joe Bob says:

    Wren has said that Prado is his opening day LF, unless a better option comes along. Prado isn’t being ‘actively’ shopped, but the Braves will listen to offers for him. What happens is we have a couple of idiot writers in town that speculate hypothetically on something, and then it gets picked up on blogs as actual things that are being discussed (not referring to this site, FWIW). Once a few blogs have run the same single-source ‘hypothetical’ as a news story, larger sites have their guys start picking up on it.

    The Braves will move Prado to save salary, hence a discussion of Cain and Myers. Delmon Young was never considered due to him being more expensive (projected) than Prado.

    In fact, Wren has said several times that he prefers guys like Prado who can play multiple positions because it gives them more flexibility–essentially more players–for the same money.

    The Braves really like Prado, and they see him as important to the lineup–but he is also one of the pieces they have that they are willing to move if other teams make an offer. The Big 4 prospects aren’t going anywhere, so that leaves a few desirable and moveable pieces–Prado is one of them.

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  12. Tom says:

    The reason that Prado is being shopped is very, very simple.

    It has to due with value.

    Martin Prado is much more valuable as a 2B than he is as a LF.

    He has a solid bat, everyone in the Atlanta organization knows that, however his bat plays much better for a middle infielder than it does for a corner OF.

    He is a middle of the pack LF, however he, in 20010, was an All Star game starting 2B.

    Wren is not saying Prado has to go, he is however letting teams know he could be had.

    With the demand for quality 2B in this league, many teams would come calling for a 2B with All Star potential. If Wren can get one of those teams to trade for Prado, as if he is an All Star caliber 2B, he is going to get much more value in that trade than he would get from a middle of the pack LF. It’s simple supply and demand.

    The overall value of a package of players/prospects that Wren could get for a upper tier 2B is greater than the value of having a middle of the pack LF. Simple as that.

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    • Kevin S. says:

      This is only true if he isn’t a significantly better left fielder (against the positional average) than he is a second baseman. Runs are runs – who cares if he generates them through defense or positional scarcity?

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      • Anon21 says:

        No particular reason to think he is a significantly above-average LF, or that above-average infield defense translates to above-average outfield defense. You need to run well as a corner OF, but skills like fast hands and good footwork are comparatively wasted there. Prado’s not fast, at least not on the basepaths, so I would expect his range in the outfield to be average or worse.

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      • Kevin S. says:

        With the caveat that there really aren’t enough defensive innings to use them definitively, DRS, RZR and UZR all think Prado is a much better LF than he is a 2B. He’s not that great of a second baseman, and the defensive standard in LF is pretty low right now. It’s conceivable that those metrics have a decent fix on his relative defensive values.

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  13. Ben Duronio says:

    Wren would trade him for a lot more than what’s being talked about. They won’t be looking to acquire a left fielder for Prado, but more likely prospects. They aren’t in a position where they have to trade him, but many teams will call about his services.

    Trading him is wise for the right package, which will likely eventually come.

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    • Dang says:

      Nice to see you away from CAC Ben

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    • Mr. Sanchez says:

      two things.

      I don;t see him bringing back the high level prospects that would make it the “right package”, but that’s just personal opinion.

      But I’d also disagree on dealing him just for prospects. The Braves aren’t building for 2012 and beyond, they have plenty of high level pitching prospects for that. They are looking for a playoff run in 2011, and Prado, because of his versatility, is a big part of that. Jurrjens, the other much discussed trade possible, has a cheaper, ready replacement in Teheran or Delgado. But Prado has no internal option coming up in the minors. Moving him opens a hole in LF, and on the bench behind Chipper that he fills. Because of available internal options, I can see Jurrjens going for purely a prospect package, but Prado would open a hole that at least in LF, doesn’t seem easily filled through free agency. So we’d have to find an immediate replacement in such a deal or take a step back in 2011 playoff hopes.

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  14. DAP says:

    Wren seem anxious to trade Prado? I’m not sure about that, or with all the rumors we have heard, something would have happened. Wren is listening, but he isn’t actively trying to trade Prado.

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  15. BSally says:

    Has anyone else seen the 3B market right now? Prado is the most attractive 3B that’s currently available (I’d have him over Ramirez for the next few years for sure). Wren is taking advantage of the incredibly thin pool of talent available. Makes a lot of sense.

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    • cthabeerman says:

      Prado’s best value is at third. The guy is a defensive wizard there, 16 DRS in what amounts to about 3/4 of a season at the position. Do I think he’s a +20 DRS guy at third?? No, but he’s still likely to do exceptionally well. Anyone that thinks he’s more valuable at second hasn’t dug into the numbers, because he’s below average at that spot.

      With Chipper on his way out after this year or next, the Braves would be well-advised to not create another hole by trading Prado away. If they do, the trade better provide both short and long-term options that are pretty significant pieces in their own right.

      I’m not opposed to Smith+Wheeler, as Smith can provide a good chunk of Prado’s production at a similar price (Smith is one year behind in arbitration, but their salaries should match up as the two progress). I like what I’ve heard about Wheeler and hope he would be able to take over in 2013 when Bourn moves on to greener pastures. I think it’s pretty likely that his six years, along with Smith’s three, will provide quite a bit more production than Prado will provide in 2012-13.

      -C

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  16. PeteH says:

    I think Wren is just letting other teams know that if they have the LF or SS we need, Prado could be part of a package, perhaps with Minor or Beachy. But it would have to be a real impact bat, not a marginal guy. Prado is just too important as protection for Chipper. We’d be able to help another team in two positions, but they have to cough up what we need, and no one mentioned so far is fair value. I doubt we really WANT to trade Martin, but he is the only regular we can spare this year. Bundle him with young, quality pitching, and you have a very attractive package. Prado is clearly a more attractive piece as an infielder, where he doesn’t have a spot right now.

    BTW, it’s pretty obvious that the staph thing was very serious and he never got back to 100 percent. It’s more likely, at his age, that he will return to his historical production than not, assuming he gets healthy over the winter. Which is pretty likely, given his work ethic.

    The fact is, Prado was actually pretty good in LF. It’s the weak production in RF and CF before Bourn that made the OF look so anemic. Unless we can get a big upgrade in LF, we’re better off keeping him. And Wren is floating the name to see if he can pry away an elite outfielder. Young pitching is very attractive, but a team with a big bat will need a bat upgrade back to make a deal attractive. And Prado is an upgrade at 2B for a lot of teams.

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  17. Phantom Stranger says:

    I have no problem with the Braves keeping Prado if they think he is fully healthy and recovered from the knee problems. He looked slow and hurt last year after he came back from the staph infection.

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  18. ABravesFan says:

    Call me an optimist, but I do think Frank Wren does know what he is doing and how valuable Martin Prado is. I don’t think Prado will be moved unless the Braves get back a solid building block for the future. Prado is a terrific team player and his versatility makes him a great asset for a winning team. However, Prado is obviously that much more valuable as a 2B compared to being a LF (or even 3B) due to his relatively limited power. If the Braves can convince a team to pay for an all-star caliber 2B, then it could potentially be a boon to the team.

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  19. To me it seems like Prado is the bait to get talks starting where ATL throws in a SP for three prospects or guys that can make the team overall better. If he’s not going to play 3B or 2B, then you might as well see what kind of deal he could bring.

    If nothing meets your expectations, he’s still your LF and Chipper replacement.

    The 3B market is slim.

    If STL signs Pujols I wonder if they would be interested in Prado at 2B with sending Craig to the Braves?

    Trade rumors are what they are but ATL generally is not a dumb team. They should get the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise. With Prado’s price tag, he’s an option for most every team, so there could be lots of offers to choose from, even a three-team deal that nets ATL a good prospect from 2 different teams.

    I do agree that the timing could be better given MP’s 2011 Season. But they haven’t traded him, they’re just listening to offers.

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  20. LRG says:

    I also agree that the braves would be stupid to trade Martin Prado. I wish my Buccos would throw an offer down there. Maybe Jose Tabata or Starling Marte?? Just thinking of Prado in the beautiful Black and Gold is giving me chills.

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  21. Antonio Bananas says:

    I think they’re just listening to offers. They scout and know their own players better than anyone, if they end up trading Prado, it’ll be for a good reason.

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  22. Denny says:

    Two things: 1) You can’t make an argument based on a flimsy assumption that the team wants to dump a certain player. What if they don’t and they are simply getting ridiculous offers that the media jumps all over and makes news out of nothing? 2) You can’t make an argument based on ridiculous trade offers. Comparing Delmon Young with Martin Prado isn’t an argument at all because the Braves didn’t consider it, i.e. there was no trade (I’m certain they laughed hysterically).

    This article was very poorly conceived.

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  23. Bob says:

    Unfortunately this article is based on speculation about who the Braves might trade Prado for. So, as Denny said above, the article is poorly conceived. Prado has been important to the Braves for the past 4-5 years. I’ve never seen anything different written by those who cover the Braves. Frank Wren is doing what any good GM does, he is exploring the market and looking for ways to improve his team. Speculation by those who don’t follow the Braves and don’t have a good idea of what he is trying to do leads to weak articles like this one.

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  24. Tomas says:

    Atlanta is willing to listen, but they are not shopping him. Prado lacks power and has a low walk rate, and for a team looking to get better in those aspects and who doesn’t have much money, trading Prado makes sense. Trading Jurrjens also makes sense, since he has been injured a lot, his velocity drop was a concern meaning his season was pure luck.

    If they don’t trade Prado or Jurrjens, they can’t do anything. No SS, they’d have to call Pastornicky up who isn’t ready, and depend on bounceback seasons by Prado and Heyward. Problem is, Prado at his best will never be a high OBP or SLG%, and the Braves know that.

    If they want to get better, they have to make a trade, and Prado and Jurrjens are definitely the most tradeable pieces at this point at their second year of arbitration.

    Braves should target, Carlos Quentin, Erick Aybar, Josh Willingham, Michael Cuddyer, or prospects.

    I’ve got a trade in my head for awhile now that would bring Aybar and Quentin to ATL.

    Braves send Martin Prado and Jair Jurrjens to the Angels for Erick Aybar and 2 solid low level prospects.

    Then trade, JJ Hoover, Zeke Spruill, and Joe Leonard for Carlos Quentin.

    Essentially trading Prado, Jurrjens, +3 prospects for Quentin, Aybar, +2 prospects. braves will be adding between 1-2 million in salary, and getting two guy who are in line to be type A FA’s unless the new CBA changes their status.

    Angels get a pitcher and a 3B, and instead of signing converted reliever CJ Wilson, they could use the money to sign Jose Reyes instead. the White Sox get salary relief and quality prospects. Braves cover their mos pressing needs with a quality SS(with speed) and a power hitting right handed corner outfielder in Quentin, and now they have like 5 million to improve the bench.

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  25. mikk402 says:

    Your hearing almost nothing out of the Braves camp, most of the talking is coming form “other sources”. The Braves do their business best when nobody has any idea what their doing till it’s done. I trust in FW.

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  26. brian says:

    This is article asks a good question, yet an unneccessary one. Wren is not shopping anybody and the Seth Smith and Delmon Young rumors are just that-rumors. Wren has no intention on getting rid of either player, but like a smart gm hes listening to all offers. Do u not thibk he gets calls about other players too? Also, why the uggla bashing? I know hes not known for his D but i watched every single game last year and uggla more than hustled his butt off and got to some pretty deep hitballs. Not to say that prado wouldntbe a better fit at second defensively, but i dont think we want to try another posiion change with bulky uggla in left. Leave him where he is comfortable

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  27. Scott says:

    Wren is just floating their names out there for interest. The whole Tigers for Young thing was pure speculation, if Atlanta had any interest in Young they would have traded for him at the deadline.

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  28. TecJug says:

    Given the trade rumors we’ve heard, I too believe Prado is undervalued…but not by the Braves. Just because a guy is being shopped doesn’t mean his team doesn’t value him. It means that they have greater needs than what he can provide. The fact of the matter is that the Braves have NOT dealt Prado for any of the rumored packages. Doesn’t it stand to reason, then, that the Braves value him appropriately?

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  29. Greg says:

    Leave Prado in left and watch him rake to the tune of 290/350/440 in a bounce back year next year. Acquire a power source to platoon with Prado in left (Prado could move to 3rd on such days giving Chipper a day off) whether it’s a guy like Willingham, Queintin or Seth Smith. The Braves need to relax, maybe deal Jurrjens to get one of those bats but other than that stand pat.

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  30. Dick Almighty says:

    There’s a difference between “begging the question” and “raising the question” or “inviting the question.” The fact that Prado seemingly has many suitors may invite and/or raise the question why Wren wants to deal him in the first place. It does not, however, “beg” the question.

    “The Braves should trade Martin Prado because he’s the kind of player who’s worth trading.” That statement begs the question, because it employs circular logic; Prado should be traded because he’s the kind of player who should be traded. I have assumed the truth of my premise.

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  31. JCC says:

    I think one very important factor that seems to keep flying under the radar during this debate is the locker room. That’s right team chemistry. Not to mention the risk that is somehow never mentioned, a new player in a new park with a new team and a new role often results in a big package deal of oops. Examples of that provided by holes left by now absent Nate Mclouth, Derek Lee, and a variety of others I don’t feel the need to mention. As a Braves fan, first off thank god the holes are now filled… at least for now, but second why make obvious lateral moves in the offseason in regards to the similar number production between any of the suggested options? The so called “off-season splash?” The Braves last year were a game out of the playoffs after the giant collapse and the suggestion that Prado had anything to do with that is laughable. The so called “trade bate” is an incredibly hard worker, a fan favorite, a clubhouse guy with a track record of great at bats with good CONSISTENT numbers and the number of positions he can play, and play well is invaluable. In my opinion, take it how you wish but I do believe I know a great deal about baseball and everyone’s united thought whether your for or against a Prado trade is that Atlanta needs power…. WRONG. Turner field is a pitchers dream and a power hitters pain, and my personal always forgotten a good defensive, contact hitting, somewhat speedy left fielders HOME. Keep Prado, and unless an unbelievable package deal comes in the mail for Jurrjens that includes a shortstop that actually field the position, (not Nunez from the Yankees) and a great center field prospect, I don’t think you make that deal either unless of course you just want to unload the Scott Boras client… I might concede that point. Pick up Jack Wilson aka another locker room guy for cheap, to bridge the gap to Pastornicky. Then let baseball nature take it’s course. Solid power from Heyward who won’t slump again like last season, Uggla who was a victim of the transition bug that I mentioned at the top will drop the 30+ bombs, McCann will be McCann, and if he is healthy which growing up a Chipper fan I hope is, knows the strike zone better than any hitter in the game and can still provide some pop… if he’s not healthy then “I’ll be damned not trading Prado was a great idea” will be echoed throughout Braves nation. The Braves will be a better team next year and I believe a legit contender but only if they stay the course. Period.

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  32. razor says:

    As with any player, you can’t just mention Prado’s walk rate declining from 8.3% to 5.8% from 2008-2011 without revealing context. In that same time period the average MLB pitching staff has gone from walking an average of 545 hitters/year to 501 hitters/year. That’s an 8.1% decline.

    It’s a different strikezone out there today and it’s been getting a tad larger every year for awhile now. Be it umpire turnover or a greater emphasis on the high strike…it’s real.

    First some said the parks were too small. Then some said the baseball itself was being manufactured differently and in the middle of all of this we had the steroid era. All of these no doubt may have contributed to the offensive explosion we witnessed from around 1993-2006 or so, but more than anything baseball is simply a game of counts. Run scoring (and walks) are significantly down again now because the count is 1-2 instead of 2-1 a lot more than it was a half-decade or so ago.

    Martin Prado’s walk rate is just a by-product of this, at least relative to the league. In my opinion Atlanta would be a lot better off if they had left Prado at 2B, then spent their money on the very thing they are looking for now as a result of the Uggla deal, which is a corner OF. Atlanta didn’t respect enough what Prado “could” do…and now they don’t see his skill set as fitting. Whose fault is that?

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