Braves could buy or sell at deadline

Braves could buy or sell

PHILADELPHIA -- Had the Braves not squandered a six-run lead in the fifth inning of Saturday's loss to the Phillies, there would have been reason for them to arrive at Citizens Bank Park on Sunday believing they had turned the corner.

Still, even though the loss might have been demoralizing, it didn't seem to be one that forced general manager Frank Wren to completely alter the approach he'll take before Thursday's Trade Deadline.

"We're ready to move," Wren said. "We've been ready to move. We're just waiting on some other clubs."

The fact that Wren says he's "been ready to move" provides no indication that he's suddenly moved into sell mode. His plan was to evaluate his team as this past week progressed, and he felt encouraged while watching them take three of the first five games of this road trip against the Marlins and Phillies.

"I'd say right now, I'm seeing more good than bad," said Wren as the Braves entered Sunday facing a 6 1/2-game deficit in the National League East standings. "But at the end of the day, it's about wins."

At the same time, it's always about the future in Wren's role, from both an immediate and extended perspective. Regardless of how the Braves fare during Sunday's series finale and during the three games they'll play against the Cardinals before the Trade Deadline, they have a need to add a power-hitting outfielder.

"Are we going to go all in to do that, 'No.'" Wren said. "We're not in a position to do that now."

While Wren contends he has the prospects to make a mega deal similar to the one that brought Mark Teixeira to Atlanta last year, he doesn't feel the addition of one power bat would make enough of an immediate difference to compensate for the loss of multiple top prospects.

Still, if the Pirates were willing to trade Jason Bay for multiple prospects, Wren could certainly pull the trigger. But the Pirates' management team is going to have to show more of a willingness to move Bay.

"If you have the opportunity to at least set us up for next year, you have to at least look at that," Chipper Jones said. "There's no guarantee that [Teixeira] will be with us next year. You have to keep that in mind."

With Jones potentially headed to the disabled list with a strained left hamstring, the Braves will likely be without his potent bat during the Cardinals series. Whether or not they have Teixeira's bat in their lineup after Thursday remains to be seen.

By hitting .316 with 10 homers and a .726 slugging percentage since June 22, Teixeira has increased his trade value and reminded other teams that his best production comes during the second half of the season. In the 54 games he played after being acquired by the Braves last season, he hit .317 with 17 homers and a .615 slugging percentage.

"Nobody wants to see Mark Teixeira go," Jones said. "He's one of our hottest hitters. But I think everybody knows that he might not be back next year and to not get anything for him wouldn't be good."

With the realistic possibility that Teixeira might be too expensive on the free-agent market, Wren will continue to evaluate the possibility of moving the 28-year-old first baseman. Along the way, he'll be looking for compensation that would be greater than the Draft picks the Braves would receive if Teixeira left as a free agent.

As the deadline nears, teams may enhance their offers for Teixeira.

"Frank is doing everything he can to get us some help," Jones said. "Based on some of the conversations I've had with him, I think he's definitely in a buyer's mode."

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