The San Francisco Giants are the latest team to check in with the Atlanta Braves on the availability of All-Star pitcher Shelby Miller. According to a report from Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, the Giants have also discussed the possibility of acquiring Miller or Julio Teheran from the Braves.
In return, the Braves would reportedly be looking for Matt Duffy or Joe Panik, according to Cafardo. This comes less than a week after the Braves were reportedly targeting A.J. Pollock from the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Braves seem to have very little motivation to trade away a young, cost-controlled asset like Miller unless the return is right.
According to Cafardo, Duffy and Panik are two players Bobby Evans and Brian Sabean "don't want to deal." Rightfully so, the two infielders each had more wins above replacement than Miller last season. Duffy, who is going into his age 25 season, had a great rookie campaign. He finished in a decisive second-place in the NL Rookie of the Year voting, receiving 22 second-place votes. By FanGraphs WAR, Duffy was the fifth-best third baseman in the league. Add that to the fact that he isn't eligible to become a free agent until 2021 and you've got an extremely valuable asset.
Panik had a breakout of his own in 2015. Going into his first full season at the age of 25, fans wondered if 2014 would just be a fluky debut. Panik not only did not disappoint, but he flourished with the best wRC+ of any second baseman in the league (minimum 400 plate appearances). Like Duffy, he won't be free agent-eligible until 2021. Similarly, both came completely through the Giants' system.
Braves general manager John Coppolella is undoubtedly starting the bidding high on the ace of his pitching staff, but there's little reason to think that this deal -- at least as it stands right now -- would get done. Miller -- like Duffy and Panik -- is also 25. However, unlike Duffy and Panik, Miller is only under team control until 2019. While those three seasons of control seem tantalizing, in comparison with Duffy and Panik it seems underwhelming.
While Coppolella has been adamant that the Braves "are not tanking," it will be interesting to follow the fates of Miller, Teheran, and Freddie Freeman for the remainder of the off-season. Remember to check-in on MLB Daily Dish's free agent tracker for all the latest.