Braves continue search for outfielder
Halos' chase of Abreu makes deal for Swisher or Nady more likely
ATLANTA -- Exactly one week before all of his players are scheduled to report to camp, general manager Frank Wren still finds himself in search of a veteran outfielder.
That search was seemingly condensed on Tuesday night, when multiple reports indicated that free agent Bobby Abreu is believed to be close to signing with the Angels.
As his price dropped over the past couple of weeks, the Braves had shown more interest in Abreu. Now they will continue to look at the possibility of acquiring either Nick Swisher or Xavier Nady via a trade with the Yankees. The fact that the switch-hitting Swisher is under contract for three more seasons and has the versatility to provide solid defense at each of the three outfield positions and first base has seemingly led Atlanta to believe that he's the better option.
Nady, who is viewed as the better option by some of the Braves' players, is a Scott Boras client who will be a free agent at the conclusion of the season. The possibility that he could be around for just one season would make Atlanta more hesitant to provide the same level of prospects that it could potentially include in a trade for Swisher.
At the same time, the Braves have some concerns about the $22.05 million that Swisher is owed over the next three seasons. The Yankees haven't agreed to previous requests to relieve this concern by agreeing to pay a small portion of this total.
If the Yankees would agree to pay $2 million to $3 million of this total, the Braves would have the ability to acquire Swisher and sign Tom Glavine, who is believed to be looking for a contract that includes a guarantee between $2 million and $3 million, as well as incentives.
Though MLB.com has previously reported that the Braves have $6 million to $7 million to spend, their remaining funds might actually be between $5 million and $6 million.
Given that he fits the mold of the power-hitting right-handed bat they would like to place between Chipper Jones and Brian McCann, Nady -- who combined to hit .305 with a career-high 25 homers with the Pirates and Yankees last year -- might seem to be a better immediate fit than Swisher, who hit .219 with 24 homers for the White Sox in 2008.
But while he might provide more consistency from a batting-average standpoint, Nady wouldn't necessarily create more run-producing opportunities than Swisher, who has shown greater power and more consistency in regard to on-base average.
Over the past three seasons, Swisher batted .246 with 81 homers, a .363 on-base percentage and a .454 slugging percentage.
While playing in 57 fewer games during this span, Nady hit .289 with 62 homers, a .343 on-base percentage and a .481 slugging percentage.
Nady will make $6.55 million this year, and Swisher is set to draw a $5.3 million salary.
With 539 strikeouts, 324 walks and 104 homers in 611 career games, Swisher provides reason to wonder if he's a lesser version of Adam Dunn. Though he has not yet displayed the same level of consistent power as Dunn, the 28-year-old Swisher did belt a career-high 35 homers with the A's in 2006.
While continuing to search the trade market in an attempt to land an outfielder, the Braves are also continuing to search the free-agent market, but their interest in Dunn, Ken Griffey Jr. and Garret Anderson appears to be minimal.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.