You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks


Welcome to

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on

Braves will ask for a lot if Cardinals want shortstop Aybar

KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Braves shortstop Erick Aybar would be the best available shortstop if the St. Louis Cardinals decide to make a significant move to replace injured Jhonny Peralta, but Atlanta general manager John Coppolella made it clear it would take a significant return for a trade to happen.

“Erick Aybar was a big part of the Andrelton Simmons trade,” Coppolella said Wednesday. “We don’t want to trade Erick Aybar; he’s a great, winning player. We need to win more games this year, and he’s going to be a big part of that. So we’re very happy to hold onto Eric Aybar.”

The Braves have shown they’re willing to trade just about anyone not named Freddie Freeman.

However, Coppolella has also made it clear, since the Shelby Miller trade in December brought back outfielder Ender Inciarte along with prospects Dansby Swanson and Aaron Blair, that the Braves turned a corner in their rebuilding project and any more deal would be to help the team now as well as in the future.

The Braves’ 95-loss season in 2015 was their worst in a quarter-century, and Coppolella has stressed they can’t have another season like that in 2016.

They aim to build momentum in advance of their move into a new ballpark in 2017, when the Braves say they’ll have far more financial flexibility and plan to increase payroll and field a team that can compete for a playoff spot.

In the meantime they insist they can’t and won’t sacrifice 2016. If they traded Aybar now, the Braves wouldn’t have another proven everyday shortstop to replace him, and no obvious hitter for the No. 2 spot behind Ender Inciarte in what should be an improved lineup with that duo hitting in front of a healthy Freddie Freeman.

In addition, trading Aybar now, before he’s played a game for the Braves, could send the wrong message to the team’s veteran players such as Freeman and Nick Markakis, and the “here we go again” vibe could potentially spoil what has been an optimistic and upbeat mood in the clubhouse this spring.

The Braves got Aybar from the Angels along with pitching prospects Sean Newcomb and Chris Ellis in the November trade for Andrelton Simmons. He’s in the final year of his contract, and the Braves might get more value for Aybar if they dealt him closer to the July 31 trade deadline.

That would also allow shortstops prospects Dansby Swanson, 22, and Ozzie Albies, 19, to get more time in the minor leagues and Braves officials could better evaluate whether one is ready to replace Aybar as soon as this summer.

Coppolella was asked Wednesday about the growth that’s still ahead for Swanson, who hasn’t played above rookie ball, and Albies, who has not played above low Single-A.

“Yeah, they’ve got growth,” he said, “but there’s some people who think they might not have that much growth left. These guys are both coming fast.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Atlanta Braves

Another Phillips homer lifts Braves over Brewers
Another Phillips homer lifts Braves over Brewers

Brandon Phillips gave the Reds his OK to trade him to his hometown team this year. That decision is working so well for Phillips that he hopes the Braves will keep him around after this season. Phillips’ go-ahead, two-run home run in the third inning Saturday sent the Braves on their way to a 3-1 victory over the Brewers at SunTrust Park. It...
‘Tricky’ hamstring injury keeps Kemp out of Braves lineup
‘Tricky’ hamstring injury keeps Kemp out of Braves lineup

Braves left fielder Matt Kemp so far hasn’t been able to pull off the difficult balancing act of letting his nagging hamstring injury heal while continuing to play. Kemp was out of the lineup for the second consecutive game Saturday. He left Thursday’s game because of what the Braves said was tightness in his left hamstring. “It&rsquo...
Braves win with key plays by rookies Swanson, Camargo
Braves win with key plays by rookies Swanson, Camargo

It was like old times Friday for Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson and third baseman Johan Camargo. The pair played infield for Double-A Mississippi last season and are doing it with the Braves now that Camargo is getting regular playing time. Each made superlative defensive plays to hold off Brewers rallies during the 5-4 Braves victory at SunTrust...
Adams becomes a complication for Braves — in a good way
Adams becomes a complication for Braves — in a good way

If only Matt Adams hadn’t gone on his galoot-free diet and had reported to the Braves looking like he was smuggling grapefruit in his uniform. Were only he the typical left-handed masher that he appears to be at first glance, mindlessly pumping baseballs into the shift and either hitting home runs or taking a seat. Then we wouldn’t be going...
Phillips big early, rookie infielders huge late in Braves’ 5-4 win
Phillips big early, rookie infielders huge late in Braves’ 5-4 win

Hours after unveiling a new Braves T-shirt bearing his likeness and showcasing his Stone Mountain roots and proud ATLien status, veteran Brandon Phillips had a home run and two RBIs to help his squad and pitcher Mike Foltynewicz take a lead on the way to continuing their recent surge in a series-opening win against the Brewers. But it was a pair of...
More Stories