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Monday November 10, 2008 2:47 am

Jake Peavy trade a good idea for the Atlanta Braves?

Atlanta Braves

The newest rumors have Gorkys Hernandez and Yunel Escobar in the trade for Jake Peavy, which is good news for Braves fans. Hernandez is a speedster in the outfield, but the Braves have two other centerfield prospects that are as good or better than him right now. That also means that the better arms will probably stay out of the deal, and Atlanta may yet retain Tommy Hanson and Cole Rohrbough.

But the real question is - what kind of team are the Atlanta Braves? Are they the kind of team that should pull this kind of trade off?

If they are a small-market team, they would have to consider their current team as untenable as presently constructed, and instead of trading for Peavy, trade Chipper Jones for good young pitching almost immediately. If Chipper doesn’t bring it back, use Brian McCann to empty out the Red Sox cupboard of tasty prospects. Act like a rebuilding team and horde picks and prospects, and trade arbitration-eligible young players before they cost too much. Act like the Florida Marlins or the Tampa Bay Rays, and be bad for a while and compete for the World Series every five years.

If they are a large-market team, they’d have to do the Peavy deal, and then spend on a second-tier veteran starter as well, while looking to pay for a corner infielder or outfielder. A big market team needs to keep its fans interested and motivated. They have to stay relevant in their wide-ranging and saturated media markets.

The answer, is, of course, that the Atlanta Braves are a mid-market team. They have a good minor league system, a demanding fan base, and limited resources. They can go in on Junichi Tazawa, the 22-year-old coming straight to America out of a semi-pro league in Japan. Maybe they hedge their bets on Casey Kotchmann with a Shea Hillenbrand pickup. But they won’t go all in on C.C. Sabathia or Manny Ramirez.

But do mid-market teams trade for Peavy? These kinds of teams have to manage their prized prospects very carefully, and trade away guys that will only end up being regulars while keeping the stars. Call it the Philadelphia Phillies model, if you will. Just don’t follow the model down the wrong path and end up like the Seattle Mariners or the Houston Astros.

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