MLB rumors: Yankees watch Braves trade for lefty-hitting All-Star outfielder

Sports 16 July, 2021 - 04:02am 4 views

Who did the Braves trade for Joc Pederson?

The Cubs traded outfielder Joc Pederson to the Atlanta Braves on Thursday night in a deal for minor-league first baseman Bryce Ball. The move ends Pederson's half-season tenure with the organization after putting up a .230/.300/.418 line with 11 home runs, 11 doubles and 39 RBIs in 73 games. Chicago TribuneChicago Cubs trade Joc Pederson to Atlanta Braves

Did Joc Pederson get traded?

The Chicago Cubs have traded outfielder Joc Pederson to the Atlanta Braves in exchange for Bryce Ball, the teams announced on Thursday. The AthleticCubs trade Joc Pederson to Braves for prospect Bryce Ball

Who will the Cubs trade?

The Braves announced Thursday they had acquired outfielder Joc Pederson in a trade with the Cubs. Chicago will receive first baseman Bryce Ball, who's spent the season at the High-A level. Pederson, 29, signed with the Cubs this offseason on a one-year, $7 million contract with a mutual option for 2022. si.comBraves Acquire OF Joc Pederson in Trade With Cubs

When is the MLB trade deadline?

MLB trade deadline 2021: Kris Bryant, Max Scherzer, Trevor Story among 21 top trade candidates. Major League Baseball's trade deadline is approaching more quickly than usual. This year's deadline is set for 4 p.m. ET on Friday, July 30, or a day earlier than the traditional date. CBS sports.comMLB trade deadline 2021: Kris Bryant, Max Scherzer, Trevor Story among 21 top trade candidates

The New York Yankees are searching for an outfielder before the July 30 trade deadline. So were the Atlanta Braves, who struck first on Thursday, acquiring left-handed hitting Joc Pederson from the Chicago Cubs.

Atlanta sent minor-league first baseman Bryce Ball to Chicago to complete the deal.

The Braves needed an outfielder after losing two-time All-Star slugger Ronald Acuna Jr. last week to a season-ending ACL injury.

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Pederson was an All-Star in 2015 while with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He played seven seasons in L.A. before signing as a free agent with Chicago in February, getting a one-year deal worth $7 million. According to Spotrac, his contract includes a $10 million mutual option for 2022 with a $2.5 million buyoyt. Pederson could be the first of several players moved by the Cubs, who are 44-46 this season, putting them eight games back in the National League Central.

The Braves are one game under .500 (44-45) but are just four games behind the first-place New York Mets in the National League East. ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports “Not only is sub-.500 Atlanta in add mode, sources tell ESPN that Philadelphia and Washington, at least for the time being, are acting like buyers as well. Because the Mets haven’t run away with the division, others see vulnerability.”

Pederson is hitting .230 this season with 11 home runs and 39 RBI. He’s hit at least 25 homers in a season four times, posting a career-best 36 blasts in 2019.

The 29-year-old Pederson can play all three outfield positions and has also seen time this year at first base.

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Atlanta Braves: Where Would Charlie Morton Go In A Trade?

Tomahawk Take 17 July, 2021 - 04:01am

PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 03: Charlie Morton #50 of the Atlanta Braves throws a pitch in the bottom of the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on April 3, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Charlie Morton #50 of the Atlanta Braves. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

As Braves fans mourned the loss of Ronald Acuña Jr. for the year, the odds of the Atlanta Braves making the playoffs dropped dramatically. In fact, Fangraphs now has the Atlanta Braves odds of making the playoffs at a very bad 7.5%.

The Atlanta Braves have a plethora of holes to fill. All 3 current starting outfielders were not in the plans to be starters when the season began. If we look at the opening day lineup, the Atlanta Braves are missing their number 1, 4, and 5 hitters in Acuña, Marcell Ozuna, and Travis d’Arnaud respectively.

The rotation has been very impressive as of late, but it is missing key pieces in Mike Soroka, Huascar Ynoa, Tucker Davidson, possibly Ian Anderson just to name a few. Kyle Wright and Bryse Wilson have also seemed to not have been able to take the step up that was expected.

This is not meant to be all doom and gloom. After all, the Atlanta Braves have a strong core that is set to compete for years to come. The front office could decide to go for a playoff push since there will be reinforcements coming with d’Arnuad and Ynoa scheduled to come back in late August. From a business standpoint, revenue is higher for playoff teams as well. With that in mind, there is a chance that since playoffs are still theoretically possible, they may go for it.

However, with the excessive amount of injuries this season, and the team having never made it over .500 once this season, it may sway the front office to trade off their one-year contracts that can’t help them beyond this season. It would make sense to at least get something than nothing at all.

Morton is the clear-cut most valuable one-year contract the Atlanta Braves currently have. In 18 games his numbers are impressive:

·         ERA+ of 122 (22% better than league average),

What is even better is that in his last 7 games:

·         batting average against of .166.

According to Baseball Savant, it shows him being due to regress slightly:

·         expected ERA (xERA) on the season of 3.85

·         expected batting average against of .228

However, even those numbers would still be extremely valuable to a team that is pushing for a playoff spot. If the Atlanta Braves decide to trade one-year contracts, teams would be lining up for Morton’s services.

It is important to note that Charlie Morton does not have a no trade clause, nor is due any incentives upon a trade. These factors make Morton’s contract even more attractive. First, because there will be no roadblocks to get a trade done once a trade is agreed upon. Second, there is not much financial risk since they will only be responsible for a few months of his pay.

It should also be noted that Morton is the type of guy that any team could use. The ideology of “They already have 5 starters, where would he pitch” is flawed. Even if there was a team that had 5 starters better than Morton, injuries still happen. It is safe to say, surely Atlanta Braves fans can attest to this.

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Braves star Freddie Freeman discusses Joc Pederson trade addition

Bally Sports South 17 July, 2021 - 04:01am

Reports say that the Braves are likely to be sellers at the deadline, but they aren't giving up just yet 17 July, 2021 - 04:01am

As the Braves move into the second half of the season, they face a brutal stretch. Chase already talked about how the next two weeks will define Atlanta’s strategy, but an MLB Network insider thinks the Braves are destined to wave the white flag at the end of July.

As I just said on @MLBNetwork of the teams in the middle, and beyond the Cubs who are known sellers, the teams most likely of the group to do some selling may be the Indians, Mariners and Braves.

— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) July 15, 2021

Of course, just after Heyman tweeted this, the Braves showed they aren’t quite ready to throw in the towel by trading for Joc Pederson. After the acquisition, Alex Anthopoulos shared the Braves focus as of now, which is on adding more pieces to this team.

Alex Anthopoulos: "Right now, our focus is on adding."

— Gabe Burns (@GabeBurnsAJC) July 16, 2021

Only four games back, the acquisition of Pederson has to give the Braves a better feeling about the second half of the season. They will still need more help, but Pederson is a solid start. Still, it doesn’t change the fact that this stretch after the All-Star break will determine whether the Braves are truly buyers or sellers at the trade deadline. As several people have mentioned, if the Braves do fall out of the race between now and July 31st, they can always flip Pederson to a contending team and receive a similar prospect return as to what they sent the Cubs, which was Bryce Ball.

If the Braves do end up selling, Charlie Morton will interest nearly every contending team. They should also get some calls on Drew Smyly, who has been much better over the last couple of months, but that’s just about it. Chris Martin and Will Smith might attract some suitors, but the return would be minimal. It’s simply a wait-and-see mindset at this point, but the Braves need to get hot — quickly.

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ESPN believes Falcons won't miss Julio Jones, predicts improvement in 2021 17 July, 2021 - 04:01am

Bill Barnell of ESPN is making some waves among NFL media. Using statistics from 2020 and historical evidence, he challenged the more mainstream narratives surrounding some teams heading into the 2021 season. Famously, the NFL stands for Not For Long. The one thing you can count on, which Barnell notes, is that things in the league will never stay the same.

Beginning with arguing that the Packers’ offense is in line for some regression, he transitions to Atlanta, “The Falcons won’t miss Julio Jones as much as you think,” his section header reads. Obviously, every NFL team would be better with the star wide receiver in their lineup, which Barnell notes.

“Since Jones entered the league in 2011, Ryan has posted a QBR of 72.5 with the former Alabama star on the field and a 63.2 mark without him. Let’s not pretend that the Falcons are going to be a better version of themselves in 2021 by subbing in Olamide Zaccheaus for a future Hall of Famer.”

He’s right that someone like seventh-round pick Frank Darby or Zaccheaus will step in and replicate what Julio was able to do. Still, his entire point was, even without Jones, the Falcons will improve because of the team’s win expectancy in multiple losses from 2021.

“They lost two games in which they held a win expectancy of 99%. No other team lost more than one, and only one other team (the 2016 Chargers) lost two of those games in a single season over the last seven seasons…” Barnell harshly reminds Falcons fans.

“In Week 2, the Falcons went up 20-0 on the Cowboys in the first quarter and held a nine-point lead when they punted with 3:09 to go in the fourth, only for Dallas to score a touchdown, mesmerize Atlanta’s coverage units with an onside kick and then complete a pass to CeeDee Lamb to set up a 46-yard field goal for the victory. The following week, Atlanta had a 99% win expectancy with a 16-point lead in the fourth quarter and the Bears facing a fourth-and-8 at midfield. Chicago converted and scored three straight touchdowns before a Ryan interception ended the game.”

The Falcons organization fell into some fog of complacency and lost the ability to win close games, but Barnell doesn’t stop at just two games. After all, even if the Falcons finished 6-10, the season would be viewed as an equal failure as a 4-12 season, just without the national embarrassment of losing two games in historical fashion. There are more instances of leads blown late in the game.

 “The 2020 Falcons lost four games in which they held a win expectancy of at least 90%. The only other team to do that was the Chargers. No other team lost more than two such games, and just two other teams (the 2013 Bucs and 2015 Giants) lost as many over the past decade,” Barnell explains.

In Week 7, the Falcons took a 22-16 lead over the Lions when Todd Gurley attempted to hold up at the 1-yard line and fell into the end zone. With 57 seconds on the clock and no timeouts, the Lions drove 75 yards in eight plays (three of which were spikes) before scoring the game-winning touchdown with all zeroes on the clock. In Week 15, facing the eventual Super Bowl champion Bucs, Atlanta held a 24-7 lead midway through the third quarter. Tampa Bay scored 17 unanswered points to tie the game, and while a Younghoe Koo field goal gave Atlanta a fourth-quarter lead, Antonio Brown‘s 46-yard touchdown handed the game to the Bucs.”

Nobody would argue that losing Jones benefits the Falcons, but most of the critical pieces from the 2020 roster are still in town, meaning regression to the average will come. I’d be willing to be the Falcons wouldn’t lose those games again even with the same coaching staff and 53-man roster. Insert Arthur Smith, and I believe new management will result in more close games won, and so does Bill Barnell.

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Joc Pederson trade grades: Braves plug outfield hole; Cubs begin sell-off

Sporting News AU 17 July, 2021 - 04:01am

The teams announced the swap Thursday night.

Pederson is going from a club staring at a midseason teardown to a club chasing a division title. Ball becomes a part of the Cubs' long-term plans.

Did the teams make a good deal? SN grades the swap:

Atlanta needed to fill a hole in the outfield after losing right fielder Ronald Acuna Jr. to a season-ending ACL tear two days before the All-Star break. Pederson, 29, will at least offer help against right-handed pitching. He has a career .837 OPS against right-handers to just .593 against left-handers. All 11 of his home runs this season have been hit against right-handers.

Pederson can play all three outfield positions, but he has spent almost all of the past two seasons in left field. He has been well below average at the position this year, however, with minus-4 defensive runs saved, per Fangraphs. Atlanta started Orlando Arcia, a converted shortstop, in left in six of its last seven games before the break. Abraham Almonte has received the bulk of the starts at the position while Marcell Ozuna (broken fingers) has been sidelined.

Atlanta did not get a true rental in Pederson, who has a $10 million mutual option ($2.5 million buyout) for 2022. The Braves reportedly are taking on all of his remaining salary this season, about $2 million.

One question about this deal: Did the Braves inquire about Kris Bryant, who is expected to also leave Chicago before the July 30 deadline and would be a true rental? Outfield is where he'd have to play in Atlanta with Austin Riley flourishing as the full-time third baseman.

Chicago is selling after a June-July swoon damaged its playoff chances. It enters the post-break portion of the season eight games out of first place in the National League Central and 7 1/2 games out of the second wild-card berth.

Pederson is the first of what is expected to be multiple moves. The question now is: How active will general manager Jed Hoyer be in the next two weeks? He needs to decide whether to move such players as Bryant, Javier Baez, Anthony Rizzo and Craig Kimbrel. 

Hoyer's first deal of the summer netted him a slugging infield prospect. MLB Pipeline ranked the 23-year-old Ball 12th among the Braves' top 30 prospects.

Ball displayed high-level power (17 home runs in 62 games) two years ago after being drafted by the Braves in the 24th round out of Dallas Baptist University. He also slashed .329/.395/.628.

He has been much worse in 2021: a .207/.354/.396 slash line and six home runs in 53 games for high Single-A Rome. His strikeout rate is high (27.8 percent), but he has shown a decent eye with 40 walks.

The Cubs can let Ball work out his hitting issues over the next couple seasons in the minors.

LEADING OFF: New guy Pederson could lead off for Braves

Detroit Free Press 16 July, 2021 - 07:07pm

Joc Pederson’s first start with the Atlanta Braves could come Saturday night, and it likely will be as his new team’s leadoff hitter.

The Braves acquired Pederson from the Chicago Cubs on Thursday for minor league first baseman Bryce Ball. Pederson was activated shortly before Friday night's game against Tampa Bay but wasn't in the lineup.

The Braves moved to acquire Pederson two weeks before the July 30 trade deadline after losing right fielder Ronald Acuña Jr. for the remainder of the season with a torn ACL in his right knee on July 10. Acuña had been the team’s leadoff hitter.

Braves manager Brian Snitker said Pederson could fill that spot in the lineup.

“Right now that’s kind of where I see him,” Snitker said. “It’s get our better hitters up there more often.”

The Minnesota Twins and Detroit Tigers had their All-Star break extended by a day when their doubleheader was rained out Friday, making them the only major league clubs to get a five-day midsummer respite.

Minnesota swept Detroit in a four-game series at Target Field before the break, but both teams have plenty of work to do become relevant in the second half of the season. Although the Tigers are percentage points ahead of the Twins in the AL Central, both entered Friday's play 15 games behind the first-place Chicago White Sox.

The Houston Astros send Jake Odorizzi to the mound against Lucas Giolito and the Chicago White Sox as the AL division leaders continue their weekend set. Odorizzi is 2-1 with a sparkling 1.04 ERA over his last five appearances. He is 3-4 with a 3.15 ERA in 11 career starts against Chicago.

Giolito struck out nine in 5 1/3 innings in an 8-3 win at Baltimore last Saturday. The 6-foot-6 right-hander is 1-3 with a 4.68 ERA in four career starts versus the Astros.

More AP MLB: and

Atlanta Hawks have better betting odds to win 2022 NBA Championship than Boston Celtics and Dallas Mavericks 16 July, 2021 - 02:48pm

Even though the Suns and Bucks are only four games into the NBA Finals, BetOnline has generated early odds for the 2022 NBA Championship. The Hawks have the 11th-best odds to take home the Larry O’Brien trophy, which is better than the Celtics, Mavericks, and Knicks.

— SportsTalkATL Alex (@GeauxSportsTalk) July 13, 2021

The playoff run the Hawks went on led them all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals and only two wins away from the Finals, and it has the makings of being the beginning of something special. Atlanta’s roster is littered with ascending talent in Trae Young, John Collins, Cam Reddish, De’Andre Hunter, Kevin Huerter, and Oneyka Okongwu. Nate McMillan is the tough bulldog of a coach needed to direct this ship, and the Hawks will continue to add veterans to round out what they hope to be a championship roster next season.

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Should the Braves give Nomar Mazara a look? 16 July, 2021 - 12:57pm

Anyone who follows the Braves knows that things have not gone according to plan in the outfield. All three Opening Day starters are not on the team at the moment. Marcell Ozuna is awaiting trial, Ronald Acuña Jr is out for the year with a torn ACL, and Cristian Pache is in Gwinnett. The Braves have tried to remedy that issue by bringing in Joc Pederson, and while guys like Guillermo Heredia and Abraham Almonte have filled in nicely at times, they are not starters on a playoff roster. Unless a trade is made, building depth is important right now. Nomar Mazara feels like a guy Alex Anthopoulos will have interest in to accomplish just that.

Mazara was designated for assignment by the Tigers, and he has had a fall from grace since breaking out with the Rangers in 2016. For four seasons, Mazara was good for a .260 average and 20 home runs, almost exactly that every season. However, his play dropped off when he went to the White Sox, and he has had a pretty bad year for Detroit.

Regardless, Mazara still has some pop in his bat and can play both corner outfield positions at 26 years old. His .597 OPS is ugly, but maybe something will click for him with the Braves as a rotational bench piece. Atlanta’s bench needs help, badly. There’s no risk to picking him up, so maybe they will take a shot to see if they can revive his career and push for the postseason.

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Cubs trade Pederson to Braves for 1B prospect

ESPN 15 July, 2021 - 08:16pm

The Atlanta Braves acquired outfielder Joc Pederson from the Chicago Cubs for minor league first baseman Bryce Ball, the teams announced on Thursday.

Pederson, 29, had 11 home runs and a .718 OPS in 73 games for the Cubs after signing a one-year, $4.5 million deal that included a $10 million mutual option and $2.5 million buyout. The deal comes just days after Braves star Ronald Acuna Jr. tore the ACL in his right knee.

Atlanta begins the second half of the season four games behind the first-place New York Mets in the National League East and a game under .500. They've dealt with an inordinate amount of injuries throughout the first half -- Acuna is just the latest.

Meanwhile, the Cubs are beginning to subtract from their third-place team in an attempt to retool, as half their roster is set to become free agents after this season.

Ball was a 24th-round pick for the Braves in 2019 and has compiled a .377 on-base percentage over two seasons in the minors. ESPN's Kiley McDaniel describes Ball as a player with "huge exit velocities" but with some "contact problems."

Pederson is not expected to be the only player dealt from the Cubs before the July 30 MLB trade deadline.

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