Shelby Miller is currently the most popular name on the MLB trade market, or is he? The Atlanta Braves are planning on being sellers this offseason, something they have already demonstrated by trading away Andrelton Simmons and Cameron Maybin. Miller appeared to be next as over 20 teams were reportedly interested in the younger pitcher, but the Braves now appear to suddenly have cold feet about shopping the 25-year-old.
According to ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick, are appearing more likely to hold on to Miller rather than trade him despite the interest. The Braves were aiming high on a return for Miller and have continued to come up short in their request. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported the Braves asked the Yankees for Luis Severino in a deal and were denied. They wanted AJ Pollock from the Arizona Diamondbacks. They requested Addison Russell from the Chicago Cubs. At this point the Braves might deem it better to retain Miller than trade him for a package they do not really want.
According to ESPN.com, the Braves are looking for an impact, up-the-middle bat in exchange for the pitcher. In need of outfield help, they reportedly are interested in Jorge Soler of the Cubs and Joc Pederson of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Both players are young prospects that the Braves could control the rights to and develop for the future. Right now, the team has over $60 million invested in Nick Markakis along with Hector Olivera who they are very high on. Getting one more addition is a priority, but right now Miller is not getting them the return they were hoping for.
So what do the Braves do if they are not shipping out Miller? Keeping the pitcher is not a bad idea considering Mike Miller just became a free agent. The team signed Jim Johnson while they remain in the hunt for bullpen star Darren O'Day. The Braves also agreed to a one-year contract with infielder Gordon Beckham who most recently played for the Chicago White Sox.
According to MLB Insider Ken Rosenthal, the Braves were in the hunt for Ben Zobrist, but fans would be wise to not expect anything from this. Zobrist is likely to command a high three-to-four year contract in free agency and while his versatility would certainly help the struggling Braves, a multi-year deal for a player over 30 is not what Atlanta is aiming for. After trading away Simmons and upsetting the franchise fans, the Braves had to look like they were making an effort and "sniffing around" the Zobrist market does just that. However, in no way is Atlanta expected to sign him.