TheMarkSmith, diehard Braves fan, has a good take on the players going back and forth.
The Braves were once the lead for Jake Peavy's services. Now, that's all but done, in my opinion. They aren't trading their best arms (Hanson). That leaves the Cubbies as the primary target, I think, for Peavy to stay in the NL. Maybe San Fran will surprise but I don't think their farm system has anything of note to entice SD. Of course, maybe you've heard me say this before, that leaves the Yanks still lurking in the weeds, waiting for the price to become low enough to jump on. I think Towers has painted himself into a very tight corner here. SD fans will not be happy once Peavy is sent for a less than stunning package of prospects. And it will happen. Maybe not to the Yanks, but someone's going to get Peavy on the relatively cheap.
Now the Braves are reportedly exploring a 5 year offer for Burnett.
Just as they were finalizing a trade for Javier Vazquez, the Braves were preparing a five-year offer for A.J. Burnett, according to sources. Burnett, considered the No.2 starter on the market, was expected to wait for Sabathia to make the first move. But with the Yankees, Red Sox and Blue Jays all apparently hesitant to give Burnett a fifth year, the 31-year-old might jump at Atlanta's offer before Sabathia makes his decision.
If Atlanta trots out a rotation of Jurrjens, Burnett and Vazquez, that's probably good enough to make things even more interesting in the NL East.
I can imagine Cashman talking to Burnett's agent, whispering that if CC goes elsewhere, a 5 year offer for Burnett's services will be faxed by lunchtime. Heck, that might be happening anyways.
And not for nothing, but I think the Yanks should be looking closely at Sheets, if they aren't already. The good guys at RAB are big on Sheets. Can't disagree, except for the fact that Burnett's proven himself in the AL East while Sheets has only succeeded in the NL Central. Biiiiig difference. That said, I think he'd make a nice addition, says the greedy one.
UPDATE: From Keith Law, as promised, who's always reliable for good scout-eriffic analysis:
The package going back to the White Sox relies heavily on one prospect, breakout slugger Tyler Flowers, to make it a solid return. Brent Lillibridge is a nice utility player who can handle playing shortstop, second or center field but who is little more than a slap-hitter without good secondary skills, limiting his upside to a bench role. Third baseman Jon Gilmore is a moderate-tools prospect with very limited feel, below-average speed, and a limited power ceiling; he reminds me of Ryan Sweeney, another player from Iowa who was hyped as an amateur beyond what his actual tools merited.
The wild card for Chicago is left-hander Santos Rodriguez, a Gulf Coast League repeater with an outstanding arm. He's a long, lanky kid whose fastball sits 95-96 mph, and he shows some feel for a breaking ball. The delivery isn't pretty, and his command is still well below average, so he probably projects as a reliever. But his upside, even in the pen, is substantial, although his probability of reaching it right now given his inexperience and delivery is not that high.
Flowers, on the other hand, is going to produce offensively at the big-league level, possibly as soon as 2010. It's not quite the way you'd draw it up -- he bars his front arm slightly with his hands all the way back and takes an all-out swing -- but he has a very good eye and raw power, particularly to left and left-center. (His 17 home runs may not look impressive, but Myrtle Beach -- high Class A -- is a horrible place to hit.) He may not hit for a high average -- I'd like to see him prove he can catch up to better fastballs, as his bat speed isn't great on top of where he starts his hands -- but he'll post a high OBP and should be a 25-plus home run guy when he's established in the majors, perhaps more in a homer-friendly park like Chicago's. Flowers' drawback is behind the plate, where he's slow and blocky and has a fringe-average arm; he'll never be a defensive asset, but the White Sox have lived with A.J. Pierzynski back there for years and won a World Series with him, so they don't seem likely to overvalue defense at catcher. If Flowers reaches or comes near his ceiling, he alone is a good return on two years of Vazquez at a slightly below-market $11 million per year. But if Flowers can't catch or has too much trouble making contact at higher levels, the rest of the package isn't likely to make up for it.