A Yankees-Braves Trade is Highly Unlikely

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 27: Infielder Eduardo Nunez #26 of the New York Yankees catches a fly ball from the Tampa Bay Rays during the game at Tropicana Field on September 27, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)

I recently reached out to Tony Almeyda of Talking Chop to discuss Eduardo Nunez and Jair Jurrjens. Of course, during our little back-and-forth, there was plenty of Nunez to the Braves discussion here and all over the web.

Because of that, I'm not going to go into as much detail as I originally planned, but I would like to share with you some of what we discussed.

When I asked about Jurrjens, Tony gave me an honest response:

"Jurrjens tends to give up a few hits and thus has a lot of baserunners, but when he's on, he's a ground ball pitcher. He's had to deal with some leg problems the last two years, most often knee injuries but has also battled hamstring issues, perhaps the primary cause of his drop in fastball velocity. Jurrjens can be a respectable middle-of-the-rotation starter when healthy, but that health is a major concern. He can be good for about 12 - 13 wins. If he throws 200 innings in 2012, I'd be a little surprised; he did it in 2009, but with his recent knee problems, I don't expect it next year."

It doesn't make too much sense for the Yankees to give up a lot of talent for a middle-of-the-rotation starter with velocity issues and leg problems. However, even disregarding that aspect, there is still another major reason why a trade between the two teams is unlikely.

Their systems don't match up well.

The Yankees' greatest strength is their pitching and catching depth. The Braves? They are loaded with starting pitching, including young starters Tommy Hanson, Brandon Beachy, Mike Minor, top prospect Julio Teheran, and B+ prospects Arodys Vizcaino and Randall Delgado. This list is also ignoring Tim Hudson, who is still under contract, and the aforementioned Jurrjens.

Simply put, the Braves don't need pitching, and the Yankees can't really offer an upgrade for the Braves in their pitching department without offering Ivan Nova or top prospect Manny Banuelos

Additionally, it is clear that Eduardo Nunez is not a long-term answer at shortstop for a contending team. His defense is suspect to say the least, and as Chris pointed out this morning, he has a career .318 OBP and a .369 SLG over nearly 3,000 minor league plate appearances. That type of offense hardly plays at shortstop, let alone a corner outfield position if he were to be moved off short.

Add in that the Braves have two shortstops in their top 10 prospects, with one of them in their top 5, and this is starting to seem like a pipe dream.

Finally, the Yankees' minor league catching depth has thinned out with the graduation of Jesus Montero, and the Braves don't have a need at catcher. Brian McCann isn't going anywhere, and with Freddie Freeman now entrenched at first base, there's no where for McCann to move.

The only reason the Braves would trade for a catcher is for him to be a back-up, and no team in their right mind would trade a quality middle-of-the-rotation starter for a fringe shortstop and a back-up catcher (I'm talking about you, Austin Romine).

If the Yankees were to add anyone who plays a position other than pitcher or catcher into this deal, they would be dealing from a position of weakness, and thus further weakening their minor league depth at that already weak position.

Of course, anything could happen, but after thinking about it further, and discussing it with Tony, it just doesn't add up.

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