The Braves agreed on one trade today, but the chances of another deal or deals happening were looking dim late Wednesday.
As first reported on The Braves Show, the Braves have completed a deal with Seattle swapping lefty starter Horacio Ramirez for right-handed reliever Rafael Soriano. The deal should be announced Thursday after both sides have examined medical reports.
But the Braves wanted to add more than just Soriano as a setup man for closer Bob Wickman. They were close on a trade with the Pirates sending first baseman Adam LaRoche to Pittsburgh for their closer, lefty Mike Gonzalez. But the Pirates asked for more than LaRoche in the deal and dragged their feet on completing the transaction, so the Braves ended the negotiations.
The Braves wanted Gonzalez and Soriano to improve a bullpen that arguably cost the team a chance at another postseason appearance in 2006. But with the Gonzalez deal likely out, the Braves are content with Soriano being a main factor in middle relief.
There was one rumor making the rounds of the lobby at the meetings late Wednesday that if true could still land LaRoche in Pittsburgh. It was a rumored three-way deal sending Gonzalez to Boston and outfielder CoCo Crisp.
With the market slow on trading second baseman Marcus Giles, a trade involving LaRoche could still be possible. The Braves might explore talks with the Angels once again. Atlanta wanted pitching from the Angels in a LaRoche deal, but GM Bill Stoneman was reluctant to part with starter Ervin Santana or reliever Scot Shields.
However, the Braves may once again explore a LaRoche deal involving outfielder Chone Figgans, who would fill the Braves' void for a leadoff hitter. But do not expect the Braves to include first baseman Casey Kotchman in a deal, since he is also a left-handed hitter. The Braves would prefer Scott Thorman to take over at first base if LaRoche is traded.
Atlanta has also had discussions with Tampa Bay regarding outfielder Rocco Baldelli, but the Devil Rays want starters Kyle Davies and Chuck James and catching prospect Jarrod Saltalamacchia. With Ramirez now traded, it's unlikely the Braves would even give up one of those two starters, much less two. But Tampa Bay would have to get pitching in return for Baldelli.
There are no real rumors about Marcus Giles, and it's unlikely the Braves would want to trade both Giles and LaRoche in the same offseason. But the Braves do prefer to trade Giles if possible, but no deal appears imminent at the moment.
The Braves do not expect to select or lose a player in Thursday's Rule V draft. The Braves' roster is currently at 40 players. You must place any player you select on the 40-man roster.
Bill Shanks is the author of Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team, a look inside the Braves‘ traditional scouting and player development philosophies. He can also be heard on the Atlanta Braves Radio Network. Email Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org.