With the trade deadline two days away, rumors are flying as Atlanta Braves prospect Kolby Allard is scratched from today’s start for AAA Gwinnett
In an interesting move by the Gwinnett Stripers today, Atlanta Braves prospect Kolby Allard, the team’s original scheduled starter for Sunday afternoon’s game against Scranton, has been scratched and replaced with Luiz Gohara.
This could be due to a number of reasons, but there is strong speculation that Allard might be called up to make his Major League debut this week with Atlanta.
To add fuel to the fire, Joel Sherman of the NY Post has indicated that several Texas Rangers scouts are in Scranton today to take a look at Gohara.
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Could Allard be part of a major trade package?
Most Braves insiders are convinced that Allard is NOT being traded in the next couple of days, although that could very well be fake news coming from the organization. With the Braves being linked as a potential landing spot for the Yankees’ Sonny Gray, an MLB starter would most assuredly be required to go the other way.
One realistic scenario could see Atlanta sending one of Julio Teheran, Anibal Sanchez, or Max Fried to New York as part of a package to acquire Gray. Atlanta was one of the teams rumored to be interested in Gray last July, and it would make sense that they would still be talking about ways to obtain the services of the talented, but struggling, right hander.
Are the Braves showcasing Gohara?
Another potential motivation for Allard being bumped in favor of Gohara is that the Braves front office is intent on showcasing Gohara before the trade deadline. The Texas Rangers are a popular trade partner for the Braves, as they feature several players that Atlanta could be interested in acquiring to help shore up some deficiencies and holes.
Future hall-of-famer Adrian Beltre would give the Braves a solid RH bat that can play third base and come off the bench if needed. Beltre does have a no-trade clause in his contract and would have to approve any move, but with his career likely coming to a close in the next year or two, the prospects of competing for a playoff spot may be intriguing.
From the Braves’ persepctive, Beltre should be available for a cheap asking price and would not require any of their top 10-20 prospects.
The Rangers also feature two bullpen arms that the Braves may be interested in. Veteran LHP Jake Diekman has had a solid season this year and would be a decent addition to the Braves struggling bullpen. The downside with Diekman is that his splits against RH and LH batters are reversed, and he has struggled mightily in getting lefties out this year.
RHP and closer Keone Kela is also rumored to be available, and at the age of 25 with 3 arbitration years of control remaining would fit the Braves’ stated goal of acquiring controllable (and productive) players. Any package for Kela would likely require the Braves to part with at least 2 quality prospects, and Gohara just might be made available if the Rangers scouts like what they see today.
The boring and most likely scenario
With the rumor mill churning in full force, it’s understandable that news such as this is generating so much chatter. Just as likely is the possibility that the Atlanta Braves are simply giving their starters a needed day off and using Allard as a means to stretch out the rotation a bit. We’ll probably know for sure in the next day or two, but until then, let the rumors fly Braves fans.