The Braves Newest Targets

Some of the bigger dominoes have begun to fall as we approach the 2011 MLB Trade Deadline. Colby Rasmus, Carlos Beltran, and Kosuke Fukudome are just a few stars that have already found new homes, but there are many more still on the market. While they are not guaranteed to move by any means, key players Ubaldo Jimenez, B.J. Upton, Heath Bell, Carlos Quentin, and Hideki Kuroda are all centers of trade speculation.

With the Philadelphia Phillies’ recent acquisition of outfield All-Star Hunter Pence, the Braves will need to add another powerful bat in the outfield to keep pace. They have plenty of infielders, pitchers, and trade chips to play if they were too swing a deal. Of the notable outfielders still on the table, B.J. Upton and Carlos Quentin fit the Braves bill the most.

[caption id="attachment_252" align="alignright" width="261" caption="Rays Outfielder B.J. Upton (Photo by The Associated Press)"][/caption]

Tampa Bay Rays young gun B.J. Upton is one of the most talented outfielders in the game. The 26-year-old hasn’t quite lived up to his potential since arriving in the Major Leagues at the age of 19. Projected to be one of the league’s best outfielders since being drafted second overall in 2007, Upton is still young and could catch fire at any moment and has been performing very strong in 2011, hitting 16 home runs and 54 RBI’s despite a .228 batting average. The asking price for Upton is reportedly very high, but for a young outfielder with his talent, it isn’t hard to see why. The Rays are seeking an everyday catcher and everyday shortstop. With Brian McCann’s recent oblique injury, Atlanta would be less willing to deal their more than capable backup David Ross. Shortstop is another position Atlanta isn’t particularly deep at. Alex Gonzalez or Julio Lugo could be dealt, but for this deal to work, Atlanta would have to add a high-end prospect.

Chicago White Sox outfielder Carlos Quentin is another player the Braves are expressing interest in. The 28-year-old slugger has hit for power in his four years with the White Sox, but has been especially been strong in 2011, hitting .261 with 20 home runs and 62 RBI’s. The asking price for Quentin is said to be incredibly high. The White Sox would love to pick up some of Atlanta’s young arms, an asset Braves General Manager Frank Wren isn’t likely to ship.

[caption id="attachment_253" align="aligncenter" width="518" caption="Chicago White Sox Outfielder Carlos Quentin (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)"][/caption]

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