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Could Atlanta sign free agent outfielder to a 'pillow contract?'

The Braves are not done shopping, but will they land a big fish?

For whatever reason Yoenis Cespedes has not signed a long-term contract. He’s one of the best bats on the free agent market, but the offensive players (particulary Cespedes and former Braves outfielder Justin Upton) have simply not been signed quickly by teams needing help in the lineup.

Jon Heyman reported Wednesday the Braves have interest in Cespedes in a short-term deal that would allow the 30-year-old veteran to increase his value and try next winter for a long-term contract. The free agent market is weaker next year, which could give Cespedes a better chance to get the deal he is looking for.

Sources told Scout.com that it’s unlikely the Braves would sign Cespedes, but obviously discussions have taken place. If the Braves signed Cespedes, they would likely trade him before the July 31 deadline for a young prospect(s).

Cespedes hit .291 last season between the Tigers and Mets, with 35 home runs and 105 RBI. He would certainly help Atlanta’s lineup even in the short-term.

The Braves currently have Nick Markakis slated for right field, Ender Inciarte for center field and Hector Olivera for left field. There have been rumors the Angels, Orioles, Royals and White Sox have interest in Markakis.

As for Inciarte, reports circulated Wednesday morning the Astros were interested in acquiring the outfielder. After Inciarte was brought over from Arizona in the Shelby Miller trade, the Braves were flooded with calls from teams interested in Inciarte. For the right hitting prospect, the Braves would likely listen closely on a deal for Inciarte.

Jim Bowden of ESPN.com reported Tuesday that four baseball general managers had told him the Braves were listening on Inciarte, Markakis and starting pitcher Julio Teheran. This is not breaking news, and the Braves have been very aggressive in exploring trades over the past 14 months and will certainly listen on any player not named Freddie Freeman.

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