Martin Prado was without a doubt one of the biggest disappointments for the Atlanta Braves in 2011. In 2010 Prado was a rare second baseman who hit like a leftfielder, but in 2011 he was a leftfielder who hit like, well, a second baseman. Missing time with a Staph infection certainly didn’t help and neither did his astoundingly low .266 BABIP (compared to his .315 career average), so it’s reasonable to expect him to bounce back next season.
On last Tuesday, ESPN’s Jim Bowden reported that the Tigers were interested in swapping Delmon Young for Prado. Not surprisingly, reports followed that the Braves’ front office said something to the extent of “no thanks”. While Young was once considered a top prospect, he is essentially a replacement level player. His above average power has been negated by a hacker’s approach at the plate and mediocre defense. While the Braves would love to add a right handed power hitter to their lineup, trading a valuable asset for Young makes no sense.
Any team would love to have Prado because of his above average bat and defensive versatility, but the Braves need him more than most. He provides valuable insurance incase either Uggla or Chipper, the Braves’ two highest paid position players, goes down with an injury, and he plays both positions better defensively than the respective starters. Ideally, the Braves will look to trade Jurrjens for a starting corner outfielder, because he is both more expensive and more expendable than Prado due to the organization’s pitching depth. Projected to earn around $4.5 million through arbitration next season, Prado should find more than enough playing time as a “super utility” player due to inevitable injuries and days off.