Many athletes are getting a new change of scenery this week in both MLB and the NBA. The NL Central and NL Wild Card titles seem to be locked up now with Milwaukee getting CC Sabathia and the Cubs acquiring Rich Harden. Harden will get hurt at some point, but the Cubs have been the best in the NL before today's trade. The only way the Braves can make the post-season is if they win the East. This means the Braves are going to have to make some decisions soon after next week's All-Star Game. Rumors are that the Teixeira market is not very good - probably because most teams aren't interested in giving up a ton of prospects and then have to deal with Scott Boras demanding $22 million a year for his client his winter.
If the Braves do decide to become a seller this July, don't be surprised if Jeff Francoeur's name is mentioned. While Frank Wren is now officially the GM, Mr. Schuerholz is still lurking and after saying he felt "betrayed", Francoeur may have one foot out the door. All the guys that rubbed management the wrong way the past 15+ years were quickly dismissed: Rocker, Justice, Sheffield, Spooneybarger, Lofton, and Wickman just to name a few. Wren and company are all saying the right things now like "We love Jeff" and "We still think he has a great future" but you never know what they are really saying off the record.
The way the Braves have played on the road this season tells us they will likely have a record around 45-50 when the AS Game gets here. Lets say at 8 games out of 1st, Teixeira and Francoeur are shopped around before the deadline. Wren has said we will want a 1st baseman back in a trade for Teixeira. I think a likely trade partner for Tex would be the Dodgers. They just creeped into 1st place and already missed out on their initial target Sabathia. LA has a young 1st baseman in James Loney and if they threw in a young starting pitcher like Jon Meloan, I think the Braves would be interested. Francoeur could then be sent to a club looking to get younger so maybe Frenchy and Brent Lillbridge could net Jason Bay. Bay is the power hitting corner outfielder we thought Francoeur was and is currently .289-17-45.
How about this for a 2009 starting lineup?
C. Jones 3B
B. Jones LF
Just some food for thought - we will probably end up keeping both - like Beezbo said, we can't pull those commercials...
As for the NBA shenanigans that just went down. Elton Brand pulled a Carlos Boozer and chose Philly over the Clippers, giving them a legit shot to compete in the east with a starting lineup of A.Miller, Iggy, Young, Brand, Dally. Maggette took the Warriors cap space no one wanted (and they will regret investing $50 million into him) and the Josh Smith saga took a big turn.
Now it appears the Clippers are the only team with the cap space to pursue J-Smoove. Hopefully, they won't front load a deal like Philly was trying to do in hopes we wouldn't match. I am convinced that if Smith signs a front loaded deal, say $14 million in year one, the Atlanta Spirit Group will not approve us matching the contract. They just aren't in the business of winning.
Did anyone watch Monday Night Football last night in the Neither-City-Ever-Wins-Anything-Can-We-Really-Get-Excited-About-The-Arena-Bowl match-up between Atlanta and Cleveland?
You knew the Force would choke - they play their home games in Phillips Arena.