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Wren evaluating every avenue toward deal

Wren evaluating every avenue toward deal

Wren evaluating every avenue toward deal
DALLAS -- Braves general manager Frank Wren has shown no signs of panic while the division-rival Marlins continue to dominate the attention at the Winter Meetings. Instead, he seems committed to patiently evaluate some trade possibilities that could significantly improve his team.

As Wren spent much of Tuesday furthering trade discussions with a handful of teams, some Major League scouts and executives gained the sense that either Jair Jurrjens or Martin Prado will eventually be traded.

Wren has obviously never mentioned the names of Jurrjens or Prado when discussing what he might do to improve his roster this winter. But to land a power-hitting outfielder he'd like to add or to simply make a significant upgrade to his roster, he might have to part ways with one of these players.

If Wren were to trade Prado or Jurrjens, he could gain approximately $5 million worth of payroll flexibility. But over the past month, he has maintained that finances will not influence any potential trade he could make over the remainder of the offseason.

Wren already completed one financially motivated trade in October, when he saved $5 million by trading Derek Lowe and his $15 million salary to the Indians.

"Anything we're working on would be with an eye toward improving our club," Wren said.

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As they have aggressively courted Albert Pujols after already signing both Jose Reyes and Heath Bell, the Marlins have certainly made things interesting in the National League East. No longer can the Braves simply look at the Phillies as their chief competition for a division title.

The bar has been raised for the Braves, who are still confident they can compete with their strong pitching staff. But there has to be some health-related concerns about Tommy Hanson, who has battled right shoulder discomfort, and Tim Hudson, who underwent back surgery to repair a herniated disc two weeks ago.

With uncertainty surrounding Hanson and Hudson, the Braves might be reluctant to trade Jurrjens. But of the players they would even consider trading, the All-Star right-handed pitcher would seemingly provide the greatest return, especially after free agents C.J. Wilson and Mark Buehrle decide where they will be pitching next year.

Some potential suitors believe the Braves are asking for too much in return for Jurrjens, whose value is tarnished by the right knee ailments he has battled during the latter portion of the past two seasons.

But once Wilson and Buehrle sign, some pitching-hungry teams might be willing to increase their offers for Jurrjens. Until then, the Braves will attempt to satisfy some of their roster wishes by continuing some of the trade discussions they have had with a clubs during the first two days of the Meetings.

"We're where we should be as far as getting additional information," Wren said. "I think other clubs are gathering additional information, and we'll see if it all comes back and works out. I don't want to characterize it that we're real far along. But we've had some good discussions."

While Wren's wish is to add a power-hitting outfielder, his only definite roster need is to find a veteran infielder who could serve as projected starting shortstop Tyler Pastornicky's backup. Nick Punto and Ronny Cedeno are among the candidates on the free-agent market.

Wren does not believe he will find this backup infielder among the group of players who might be non-tendered by Monday's midnight ET deadline. Atlanta native and current Giants infielder Jeff Keppinger is expected to be among this year's non-tendered players. But the Braves do not seemingly have much interest.

"We've got our target guys that we're discussing," Wren said. "That's still our focus, not the potential non-tenders."

The Braves will almost certainly not tender Peter Moylan a contract by Monday. But Wren said he has already had discussions with Moylan's agent, Adam Katz, about the possibility of the Australian reliever returning once he begins throwing and proves that his surgically repaired right shoulder is sound.

Moylan made just seven appearances this year before he needed to undergo back surgery to repair a ruptured disc. After he returned to the Atlanta bullpen in September, he made just six more appearances before needing to undergo shoulder surgery.

While Moylan is hoping to be ready to pitch early next season, there is certainly a chance he could miss much of the season's first half.

"There's still some unknown about his health status," Wren said. "We probably won't know more until he starts throwing and we get deeper into the rehab process."

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{"content":["winter_meetings" ] }
{"content":["winter_meetings" ] }