The Braves see opportunity in the National League East, and they're seizing it.
The first-place Phillies have the worst rotation in baseball by ERA (5.72) and just lost No. 2 starter
The Mets have had injury woes of their own, with
At .500, the Braves sit just 5½ games out of first place. Seeing their chance, they took it by trading three prospects to the Pirates for All-Star center fielder
The Braves saw their chance in the offseason, too. That's why they traded for
Unfortunately, Anderson hasn't proven to be the solution the Braves needed in the outfield. Nor was 22-year-old rookie center fielder
McLouth is an asset at the plate, but he's not a true impact talent. Even in his breakout, All-Star season last year, he failed to slug .500 or get on base more than 36 percent of the time. Thus far this year, he's failing to live up to even his modest .276/.356/.497 line from a year ago, hitting .256/.349/.470. McLouth is a real weapon on the bases (in his major league career, he has stolen 64 bases in 69 tries), but the Gold Glove he won last year is one of the bigger gaffes the history of the award. Advanced fielding metrics reveal McLouth to have been one of the worst fielders in all of baseball in 2008, though they're far more kind to him this year, ranking him as roughly average in center. Most significantly, McLouth, despite having just "arrived," is already 27, which means he's unlikely to get much better. There's no doubt that McLouth will be a significant upgrade for a Braves outfield that bookended the undercooked Schafer with the remains of Anderson (.263/.290/.377) and
Taking the latter first, the three prospects the Braves sent to Pittsburgh were center fielder
It's Locke's inclusion in this deal that makes one question the cost. Hernandez was one of Atlanta's top trade chips, particularly after they dealt slugging catcher/first baseman
Put simply, the Braves' offense is a mess.
All of which goes to show just how far away the Braves were at the end of last season, and why I believe they should have focused on building a perennial pennant winner for the coming decade around coming talents such as Schafer, righty starter
As for the Pirates, the deal clears room for top prospect