It was probably one of the first things that crossed your mind when you heard that Atlanta Braves starter Brandon Beachy, who is leading the NL in ERA (2.00), was headed to the DL with elbow troubles. It was probably one of the first things that crossed your mind when you heard that Beachy had at least a slight tear in his ulnar collateral ligament. And it was definitely the first thing that crossed your mind when it was announced late last night that Beachy would be undergoing Tommy John surgery, and would be out until next year.

Maybe the Braves just got desperate for Ryan Dempster or Matt Garza.

The midseason trade game can be an icky one, full of uncomfortable rooting interests, and things you think, but would never say aloud. I guess the best way to put it is that, while I am not the least bit happy about Beachy going down in the middle of a great season, I am excited that the Cubs’ possible trade markets continue to open up. And I wish Beachy a speedy and full recovery.

But, speaking of that trade market, although the Braves would never say they’re desperate to pick up a starter, they’re certainly looking.

And, according to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Braves are indeed taking a long look at both Dempster and Garza. We heard earlier in the week that the Braves had sent their top talent evaluator, former big league manager Jim Fregosi, to watch Matt Garza’s latest start (a fact confirmed by O’Brien). O’Brien says that the Braves are “believed” to be among “six or more” teams interested in Garza. O’Brien points to Garza’s contract – $9.5 million this year, and another year of control thereafter – as a plus in acquiring him.

Without specifics, O’Brien suggests that Dempster is another pitcher in whom the Braves could have interest, and that he’d likely cost less in trade than Garza (yeah … ). O’Brien also notes that the Cubs are likely willing to eat a substantial portion of the money owed to Dempster this year in order to improve their return, something of import to the always cost-conscious Braves.

Obviously the Braves would be an attractive trade partner for the Cubs.* The Cubs are looking for big-time pitching prospects, and that tends to be the Braves’ specialty. They’ve got top 100 types Julio Teheran and Arodys Vizcaino (who is recovering from Tommy John surgery), as well as interesting guys like Sean Gilmartin, Zeke Spruill, J.R. Graham, and more. They’ve also got 22-year-old starter Randall Delgado, who’s found some success already as a starter in the bigs.

The Braves also have a number of semi-successful, young-ish big league starters – guys like Jair Jurrjens, Kris Medlen, and Mike Minor – on whom the Cubs might be willing to take a chance, if the rest of the deal made sense.

They’ve also got some solid positional prospects in areas of need (third base, catcher), so I could obviously go on for a while. The point is: the Cubs could find what they want if the Braves were desperate to pick up one of Garza or Dempster.

And, given that the Braves are currently just 3.5 games out in the NL East, and just 0.5 back from the second Wild Card, they’re clearly going to want to stay in the race as best they can. With Beachy out, that might just mean parting with a prospect they might not otherwise have wished to deal.

*Subject to the caveat that the Braves have long been supremely good at evaluating young talent, and you risk a whammy when picking up the pitching prospects that they’ve decided they’re willing to discard.

  • Kevin

    I’d like to be a fly on the wall in all the leagues GM offices.

  • jim

    Garza for delgado and the next chipper! Done 😉

  • MikeL

    Off topic:

    Carlos Zambrano is starting to look like the Carlos of old…..2 hit batters 4 walks….look of rage in his eyes when he doesn’t get the calls he wants, pitch count of about 90 in less than 5 innings….and E.R.A rapidly approaching 4.00.

    • AB

      Additionally Off-topic:

      If you play fantasy baseball, you may want to pick up Tyler Colvin for homestands at Coors Field, not so much on the road.

  • Crockett

    I think the “whammy” is much less than it was in the Scheurholtz days. Frank Wren is very meh.

  • Blinda

    I really like Minor. He reminds me of a young Andy Pettite

  • ichabod

    think about what it must be like being a fan of a team that is competitve, and very at that, every single year. brave fans count your baseball blessings.

  • Steve

    I live in ATL and these yokels are oblivious.

    I guess if you eat filet and lobster everyday, you eventually get used to it.


  • Steve

    I’ve had my Starbucks and now my blood is boiling reading the above article. How, for the love of mayonnaise, could the braves, who consistently finish much higher than the Cubs, be overflowing with prospects??
    I made a comment not long ago about how the quality of scouting from team to team couldnt be THAT far apart….

    I’m not a newspaper, but I’d like to retract that article please….

    • hansman1982

      it’s not necissarily the scouting its just what organizations value and their respective draft budgets. Knock Hendry all you want for valuing the wrong things but he was a whiz in finding the guys who fit his bill

  • Jeff1969

    The Braves always want to compete, no matter who goes down. Playing Theo here, I’d ask for J.R. Graham, Mike Minor, Andeltron Simmons, and Evan Gattis for Garza and maybe Barney. I don’t think the Braves been happy with their SS play at all this year and Barney could take over. Simmons was ranked 4th in their system by Baseball America, Graham 13th, Gattis 29th. I think they might be resistant to including Minor, but I think he’s the real deal. The Braves don’t spend as much time trying to develop a guy, and hide him at the same time, if he isn’t worth it. Two lefty starters, a SS/inf, and a young catcher.

    • Wrigley11

      Really don’t think Theo would pull the trigger on that deal.