NL East Notes: Braves, Marlins, Papelbon, Utley

No team in baseball holds a bigger lead on first place in its division than the Braves' 11.5 game advantage on the second-place Nationals. And yet, as MLBTR's Jeff Todd pointed out Thursday, just four trades involving NL East teams occurred in the entire month of July. Here's more on the Braves and the rest of the AL East…

  • The Braves still want to add another infielder and a left-handed bat to their bench, and GM Frank Wren told Carroll Rogers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that there's a good chance of an August trade for Atlanta to address those needs. The team also needs to see how outfielders Reed Johnson, Jordan Schafer and B.J. Upton fare as they work their way back to health.
  • Wren called this year's deadline "strange," noting that there were fewer sellers and fewer players available than he's accustomed to seeing, according to's Mark Bowman. Wren said he had some conversations on Wednesday leading up to the deadline, but none proved to be substantial.
  • Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest told Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald that he never got the sense that anything was close in the trade discussions he had leading up to the deadline. "[Wednesday] wasn't our day," said Beinfest.
  • After holding onto Cliff Lee and Jonathan Papelbon, both players are now part of the Phillies' rebuild, writes Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Papelbon would be wise to follow the examples of Lee and Michael Young, in the mind of Brookover, rather than make candid comments like the one Papelbon issued this past Sunday when he said, "I definitely didn't come here for this," adding that the organization needed changes from top to bottom.
  • Phillies president David Montgomery offered the highest praise for Chase Utley when speaking to Brookover's colleague, Ryan Lawrence. Montgomery noted that Utley has endeared himself to the city and is a "max-out player" and "a tremendous teammate." Clearly, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. agreed, adding: "I'm not sure he's a guy you can replace at second base." The two sides continue to work toward an extension, though Lawrence notes that the Phillies don't feel they need to get a deal done before he hits free agency, likening Utley's situation to that of Jimmy Rollins following the 2011 season.

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