Saturday, December 9, 2006
The Atlanta Braves are seriously pursuing Rocco Baldelli in preparation for Andruw Jones leaving via free agency in 2007. They are so eager to trade for Baldelli they are willing to part with top prospects Jarrod Saltalamacchia or Yunel Escobar. They may also be willing to part with Chuck James but his 11-wins this season may make the Braves reluctant to trade him. Kyle Davies name has also come up and one Braves scout has said he would be willing to part with him. Baldelli's contract works perfectly for the Braves. His contract calls for three club options, ending in 2011, with the highest annual salary reaching 9 million. If the Braves were able to trade for Baldelli, it could reopen talks for Andruw Jones. With Jones expecting to walk after 2007, it would slot Baldelli in center for 2007 and beyond. The Braves and Rays have a long way to go though, because it is expected that if the Braves offer Davies and Saltalamacchia, they will want Baldelli and a starter. Baldelli hit .302 with 16 HR, 57 RBI, and 10 SB.
2007: 750 K
2008: 2.25 million (incentives)
2009: 6 million (2 million buy out club option)
2010: 8 million (2 million buy out club option)
2011: 9 million (2 million buy out club option)