If Las Vegas posted odds on Braves' players most likely to be traded before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, pitcher Jaime Garcia easily would've topped the list -- and he might have been off the board by now.
The Gwinnett Braves scratched Aaron Blair from his scheduled start Thursday night against Indianapolis, leading to immediate speculation that the Braves were preparing to call him up as a replacement should Garcia be traded. The reported likely destination: Minnesota, which already has ex-Brave Bartolo Colon.
Garcia (3-7, 4.33 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Braves against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday night.
SB Nation baseball writer Chris Cotillo first reported a deal appeared imminent.
He backed off slightly 11 minutes later.
But Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported the Braves are close to dealing Garcia to Minnesota. If true, the Twins would have two-fifths of the Braves' former rotation. They picked up Colon after he was released by the Braves.
Garcia's departure has seemed inevitable. He's a veteran lefthander who can help playoff contenders, and he's an unrestricted free agent after the season. For a complete rundown of potential Braves' players to be moved before the trade deadline, click here.
Other candidates to go include second baseman Brandon Phillips and reliever Jim Johnson (both free agents after the season), first baseman Matt Adams (who will enter his third arbitration year) and starting pitchers R.A. Dickey (impending free agent) and Julio Teheran (just because he's a perpetual trade rumor).
There was a report by ESPN's Buster Olney that the Braves have told teams they likely will keep Adams through the season, despite the return of Freddie Freeman and the logjam of infielders. But it remains to be seen how general manager John Coppolella would respond should a strong offer for power hitter come his way.
I can't blame the Braves for starting to sell off players. Making the playoffs a long shot . But as I wrote recently, it would be nice to see them begin to acquire a major piece for next season, specifically a starting pitcher.