As David O'Brien writes, the Braves have one huge, glaring, gaping weakness:
- When Jeff Francoeur and Jordan Schafer combined for an 0-for-8, six-strikeout performance in Monday's loss to the Giants, it underscored the Braves' serious need to add an outfield bat between now and the July 31 trade deadline, and ideally a lot closer to now than to July 31.
Yes, when your right fielder is hitting .259 with a .647 on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS), and your center fielder is hitting .205 with a .625 OPS, well, it's a damn good thing that your left fielder is piling up big power numbers.
If someone told you before the season that, 44 games into this thing, Diaz would be the only Braves outfielder with an OPS above .650, what would you have thought about the team's chances of staying in the division race?
But he is, and they are. So they count their blessings and should leave no stone unturned in trying to fix this thing while there's still plenty of time to make a run at a postseason berth.
The thing is, I'm not convinced that this thing can be fixed. Sure, if the Braves turn over enough stones they'll find an outfielder eventually. But one's not enough. They need at least two, and possibly two-and-a-half because Diaz isn't really good enough to play regularly against right-handed pitching.
I'm not saying the Braves shouldn't give it a shot. But they need help, they need lots of help, and they need lots of help soon. I don't know that they can find help worth getting without trading away half their farm system. Especially before July. The front office made a bed that included an outfield consisting of Anderson, Schafer and Francoeur. Now they probably just have to lose in it.