The Atlanta Braves came into the season on a full rebuild, so it is no surprise that they possess the worst record in Major League Baseball at 16-39.
Atlanta, which started the season just 5-18, has lost three straight following a 4-0 setback to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday. A big reason for the Braves’ struggles is due to the fact they own the majors’ worst offense. The shutout Saturday marked the seventh time the Braves have been held scoreless this season.
Atlanta ranks last in batting average (.225), last in runs (168), last in slugging percentage (.310) and 28th in on-base percentage (.292). The Braves are also last in the league with 22 home runs and have the worst run differential at minus-87.
Atlanta has already made two in-season trades and are likely far from done wheeling and dealing. The Braves traded veteran Jhoulys Chacin to the Los Angeles Dodgers on May 11, and then dealt Jason Grilli to the Toronto Blue Jays on May 31. The Braves received 6-foot-8 left-hander Adam McCreery from the Dodgers and 6-foot-4 right-hander Sean Ratcliffe from the Blue Jays in the deals. Atlanta also acquired 26-year-old left-hander Jeb Bradley from the Milwaukee Brewers for cash.
There are currently rumors that Atlanta may look to deal outfielder Nick Markakis, utility man Kelly Johnson, and right-handed pitcher Julio Teheran.
The Boston Globe reported that the Philadelphia Phillies and Kansas City Royals were among the teams interested in Markakis in May, but that may have changed with the 32-year-old’s recent trouble at the plate.
Markakis, who is making $11 million this season, is hitting just 0.187 (21-for-112) since getting off to a hot start in April, when he batted 0.302 for the month. He is currently hitting 0.237 with one home run and 29 runs batted in.
According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports Network, several teams have inquired about Teheran’s availability. However, Braves’ general manager John Coppolella told Fox Sports that it would take a lot for him to trade Teheren.
“The days of us trading players like Teheran for prospects are over. We need to get better at the major league level. We would have to be overwhelmed to move Teheran.”
Coppolella added that if the Braves did trade Teheran, he would need a major league hitter of comparable age and quality in return.
Teheran, 25, is the veteran and ace of a young Braves’ starting rotation. He is 1-6 on the season, though he has thrown the ball extremely well this year. Teheran is limiting hitters to a 0.204 average and has a 1.04 WHIP, along with a 2.92 ERA in 74 innings. The 6-foot-2, 200-pounder has struck out 69 batters and walked 22, though he has given up 10 homers.
Teheran is making $3.3 million this season and is under contract until 2020, if the Braves decide to exercise his last year’s option.
Atlanta has the major’s youngest starting staff with Matt Wisler, Mike Foltynewicz, Aaron Blair and Williams Perez, who are all under 24-years-old, joining Teheran. The Braves starters are a combined 9-26 with a 4.31 ERA this season. Wisler, Foltynewicz, Perez, and Blair each have two victories. Foltynewicz was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Saturday, meaning Bud Norris will likely return to the starting rotation.
Heyman also said that reliever Alexi Ogando has drawn interest from teams. Ogando is having one of his best seasons in his 7-year career, going 1-1 with three holds and a 3.20 ERA in 27 games. The 32-year-old has recorded 23 strikeouts and allowed 15 walks in 25.1 innings.
Ogando had a rough outing against in the Braves 4-0 loss to the Dodgers on Saturday. He faced three batters, throwing 18 pitches, and recorded only one out. Ogando walked one, surrendered a hit and was charged with two earned runs.
In addition, Atlanta may be willing to trade Johnson despite the fact that Braves have no immediate replacement for him. The 34-year-old veteran has a slash line of 0.220/0.283/0.303, but his value lies in his leadership. Johnson, who can virtually play any position, has spent time at first and second base as well as left field this season.
[Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images]