Braves: Top prospects off limits

The Baltimore Sun

General manager Frank Wren insists the Braves won't trade their most valued prospects, apparently not even to bring Jake Peavy to Atlanta.

Speculation about the Braves' interest in Peavy has grown since the San Diego Padres confirmed they were fielding offers for the 2007 National League Cy Young Award winner.

On Sept. 29, one day after the Braves completed their first 90-loss season since 1990, Wren said he wouldn't part with the organization's top prospects.

Wren made that proclamation before knowing the Padres would consider trade offers for Peavy, but he affirmed his stance yesterday.

"From our perspective we still feel the same and we are looking to the future when that next wave of talent I spoke of arrives in Atlanta," Wren said in an e-mail to the Associated Press.

Two top minor league players mentioned in widespread trade speculation are starting pitcher Tommy Hanson and outfielder Jordan Schafer.

Peavy has a no-trade clause, and his agent, Barry Axelrod, has said the right-hander likely would approve moves to the Braves, Houston Astros, Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals.

Peavy, a native of Mobile, Ala., would seem to be a good fit for the Braves. Wren said his top offseason priority is to add two starting pitchers.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reported this week the Padres had three scouts watching Hanson at a recent Arizona Fall League game.

Numerous reports suggest the Braves might include Schafer, Hanson and one of two Atlanta infielders, shortstop Yunel Escobar or second baseman Kelly Johnson, in an offer for Peavy.

"Many of the trade speculations that have been written over the past few weeks are inaccurate," Wren said. " ... They are simply an outsider speculating what we might do and not what we would do."

Hanson, 23, threw a no-hitter in Double-A this year. He was 11-5 with a 2.41 ERA and had 163 strikeouts in 138 innings in Single-A and Double-A.

The Braves' top returning starters are 2008 rookies Jair Jurrjens, Jorge Campillo and Charlie Morton. Wren said the Braves must plan to be without right-hander Tim Hudson (elbow ligament-replacement surgery) in 2009. John Smoltz (shoulder surgery) and Tom Glavine (elbow surgery) remain uncertain. Left-hander Mike Hampton is a free agent.

Postseason: : Commissioner Bud Selig hopes to shorten the postseason by two or three days next season by eliminating some days off. MLB shifted the start of the World Series from Saturday to Wednesday beginning last year, adding four extra days off. Selig said he likes the Wednesday start but is concerned about weather next year, when the regular season doesn't start until April 5. Game 7 would be Nov. 5 if the current format is kept. .... Game 1 earned a 9.2 rating and 15 share on Fox. That's down 12 percent from the 10.5 from last year's opener between the Red Sox and Rockies, but up 15 percent from the 8.0 for Cardinals-Tigers matchup two years ago.

Et cetera: : Randy Niemann will be the Mets' bullpen coach for the third time, and Razor Shines was hired as third base coach. ... The Yankees hired Bill Livesey as a pro scout, 13 years after he was fired as vice president for player development and scouting. Livesey oversaw the Yankees' draft when they selected Derek Jeter in 1992.

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