Should the Braves entertain a Peraza trade?

Could the Braves make an in-season trades involving prospects? Bill Shanks has some thoughts.

So the Yankees are scouting Jose Peraza? Well, it happens. Teams scout players all the time. But you would have thought this was some Ted Williams-for-Joe DiMaggio swap the way the news hit the fan.

The fact the Yankees reportedly sent scout Dennis Twombley to Gwinnett to look at Peraza should come as no surprise. The Yankees are trying to figure out their long-term situation in the two middle infield spots, and Peraza can play both second base and shortstop.

It’s the Yankees, so they could send a scout to Bulgaria and word would leak out. We do need to remember, however, that teams scout players all the time. It might be someone they like now, or someone they may like to inquire about in the future.

The Yankees could decide to call John Hart and John Coppolella, Atlanta’s two front office gurus, and ask about Peraza. Teams likely do that all the time, and the conversation might often be fairly simple.

“Hey, would you guys have interest in talking about Jose Peraza?” an executive could ask Hart.

Now, why would Hart say no and end the conversation? There is likely only one player in the organization that Hart should not want to discuss – Julio Teheran. There is no reason to trade Teheran. He’s under control for several years and he’s the ace of the staff.

Other than Teheran, Hart should always listen about players. He likely doesn’t want to trade Freddie Freeman, Andrelton Simmons or maybe Alex Wood. Hart probably wants to hold onto the players he’s acquired this past offseason. But considering what he’s done this past winter and what the team is doing for the future, Hart should always see what teams want to say.

If the Yankees make that call, there are reasons Hart should really think about what they may offer for Peraza. He would first need to see if he could trade Peraza. Is it logical, considering the potential for Peraza to eventually take over as the starter at second base?

The Braves currently have a contingent at second base. It would be easier for the team to think about the future at the position if the manager would leave Jace Peterson there full-time. The Braves need to see what Peterson can do. He deserves the chance to be the everyday second baseman, but for some reason Fredi Gonzalez is playing musical chairs there.

Peterson turns 25 years old next month. He’s a former supplemental first round draft pick. Peterson impressed the coaches in spring training and it was believed Peterson would get a shot to show what he can do. Now, he’s not setting the world on fire, but it would be good for Peterson to have a chance to show if he is the future at second base.

Maybe he’s not the answer, but the Braves need to see. They may also wonder about Elmer Reyes or Daniel Castro. Maybe they think Omar Obregon can be their second baseman down the road. Maybe Ozhaino Albies can move over from second base. But Jace Peterson can answer more than anyone the question of whether Peraza could be expendable.

The Braves had Peraza take a few fly balls in the outfield during spring training, and the reason was simple. What if Peterson is good enough at second that Peraza could be needed elsewhere? But again, the manager needs to play Peterson enough there for everyone to find out.

Regardless, it still wouldn’t hurt to listen. And the Yankees are the instigators in this, so the Braves can hold out and simply name their price. “Okay, you want Peraza? Then we want…”

Before we even name names, let’s remember that Gordon Blakeley is now in Atlanta’s front office. He was with the Yankees forever, and he knows that farm system. Blakeley signed many of the international players. He was a good resource when the Braves acquired Manny Banuelos, and if discussions ensue Blakeley would certainly be called upon again for his opinion.

“We have no interest whatsoever in trading Jose Peraza," said Coppolella Thursday when asked by MLB.com’s Mark Bowman. But that doesn’t mean Coppolella and the Braves won’t listen. And that comment should not be thrown up to the team or Coppolella if a trade is completed.

If the Yankees want Peraza to be their new second baseman, or maybe the replacement for Derek Jeter at shortstop, they’re going to have to pay. You don’t want to go so far as to wonder if the Braves could rob the Yankees in a deal, but it’s worth setting Peraza’s price so high that the Yankees would have to overpay to get him.

The Braves don’t have to trade Peraza, so they hold all the leverage. I like Peraza. He does have great potential. Peraza could be the next Rafael Furcal-type player – a leadoff hitter with solid defensive skills who can run like the wind.

But what if Atlanta asked for one of the Yankees’ best hitting prospects – Aaron Judge, Greg Bird or Eric Jagielo – and a young pitcher? Judge is a power hitting prospect, which is something the Braves do not have a lot of in the farm system. Judge is 6-7 and weighs 275 pounds. He’s a right-handed hitter that hits the ball far and strikes out a lot, like most power hitters. Judge would be a great option for the outfield, which is one of the weaker positions in the Atlanta farm system.

Bird is a great pure hitter. He was a catcher the Yankees moved to first base, and you have to wonder if he could move to left field. Bird looks like a more complete hitting prospect than Judge. And Jagielo is a third baseman, and while the Braves do have Rio Ruiz (acquired from Houston in the Evan Gattis deal) it would not hurt to have another long-term option there.

I like all three of those hitters, and the Braves are going to have to have to some hitters moving forward. What would be better, a speedster like Peraza, or a player with more power potential?

It’s doubtful the Yankees would give up top pitching prospect Luis Severino in any deal. He’s very highly ranked. But there are others. Ian Clarkin is a lefty prospect. He’s an impressive starting pitching prospect who will be in High-A Tampa this season. MLB.com rated Clarkin the Yankees’ sixth-best prospect.

If the Yankees have soured on Rob Refsnyder, perhaps he could be added in a deal. Wait, I’m expanding this a bit. I think I’m looking at this Yankees prospect list and liking some of the players.

But this is likely how trade discussions go. Teams probably throw names up in the air all the time. The Braves just connected more this offseason than usual, making it more interesting when a trade rumor like this pops up.

Again, I like Peraza, but I would listen to the Yankees all day long. There is no way Gary Sanchez would be needed. He’s a catching prospect mentioned by the New York Post reporter. The Braves would likely ask for Judge. Why wouldn’t they? He’s a power hitting prospect and the Braves need that.

The Yankees would probably prefer to offer Bird or Jagielo, and while I like both players it just doesn’t make sense to do this deal without Judge at the forefront of the Yankees offer. If I knew Bird could switch to left field, then sure I might be interested. But he’s just switched to first base. And while Jagielo looks interesting, I think Rio Ruiz is a better prospect for third base.

I would demand Clarkin in the deal. I have to have a pitcher back in everything, so if they want Peraza bad enough, give up Clarkin. Peraza for Judge and Clarkin would be interesting. The Braves might have to throw in a marginal relief pitching prospect, as they did in the Justin Upton and Evan Gattis trades. Okay, who cares? Do it. And I would even throw in something else if they would include Refsnyder, who in effect could replace Peraza as an option for second base.

So there is my trade demand to the Yankees if I’m the Braves – you can have Peraza but we want Judge and Clarkin. If they want Peraza bad enough, they should do it. And while the Braves do like Peraza’s potential, in that trade they would be getting a power hitting prospect that is sorely needed plus another starting pitching prospect.

Here is the question the Braves have had to ask about every trade these past six months – “Will this make us better?” While it might be tough giving up Peraza, if the Braves got a player like Judge along with a pitching prospect that is highly regarded, they would be better.

I have never understood why there have not been more minor league trades, which is what this would be. Teams like to hold onto their own players longer, to make sure they don’t give up too soon on a player that might be special. That’s understandable. But this is a situation where both teams could fill needs. The Yankees obviously wonder if Peraza can help answer their questions about the middle infield spots. And the Braves could have that power hitting outfielder they so desperately need.

It’s easy pulling off a trade from the peanut gallery, even a little fun. Let’s see if New York’s interest turns into something more significant.

Listen to “The Bill Shanks Show” from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WPLA Fox Sports 1670 AM in Macon and online at http://www.foxsports1670.com/. Follow Bill at twitter.com/BillShanks and email him at thebillshanksshow@yahoo.com.

Atlanta Dugout Top Stories