The 2009 NL East will be the most exciting division in Major League Baseball, bar none. Last season the world watched as the Philadelphia Phillies, a team thought to be competing for a wild card spot at best, went on to win the division and eventually defeat the Tampa Bay Rays to bring a World Championship to the city of brotherly love. Despite their recent success, this off-season’s transactions have guaranteed one thing: a division title is anything but a guarantee for this 2009 Phillies team. New York Mets GM Omar Minaya went out and imported two flame throwing relievers, J.J Putz and Francisco “K-Rod” Rodriguez. Atlanta Braves GM Frank Wren signed veteran sinkerballer Derek Lowe to anchor their rotation, and the Washington Nationals signed slugging first baseman/outfielder/Sabermetrics golden standard Adam Dunn to a two year deal. What does this mean? This means that the NL East will have 5 teams with a legitimate shot of finishing the year with a record over .500. If everything falls into place, 2009 should provide some intriguing late season baseball.
Javier Vazquez was traded from the Chicago White Sox to the Atlanta Braves today and the balance of power shifted in the National League East.
Okay, nothing quite so impressive happened. And the reports differ on who the Braves gave up - was it Tyler Flowers, the brawny powerful catcher with great on-base ability that was the cornerstone of the deal? Or was it Jo-Jo Reyes, the mercurial lefty with poor results so far in the major leagues? The reports agree that speedy infielder Brent Lillibridge is in the deal either way, but Lillibridge doesn’t sting too much, as he’s struggled to reclaim his former top prospect status since hitting the high minors. And the remaining players will surely be long-shots from the low minors.
In order to really get at whether or not this trade was worth it, let’s assume the more expensive trade, the one with Flowers, is the real trade. Was it worth giving up a top offensive catcher prospect for two years of Javier Vazquez?
Read More | Atlanta Journal and Constitution
The newest rumors have Gorkys Hernandez and Yunel Escobar in the trade for Jake Peavy, which is good news for Braves fans. Hernandez is a speedster in the outfield, but the Braves have two other centerfield prospects that are as good or better than him right now. That also means that the better arms will probably stay out of the deal, and Atlanta may yet retain Tommy Hanson and Cole Rohrbough.
But the real question is - what kind of team are the Atlanta Braves? Are they the kind of team that should pull this kind of trade off?
The Jake Peavy rumors are heating up at the Winter GM meetings, with the Chicago Cubs and the Atlanta Braves at the forefront. Much discussion centers around Tommy Hanson, the Braves farmhand that threw a 14-K no-hitter this year in the minors, and whether or not the Braves should give him up. His 2.73 / 1.08 minor league line is impressive, as is the 373 strikeouts in 323 innings. While he’s walking a few too many hitters right now, the scouts love him, and by all accounts, including direct statements from GM Frank Wren, he’s untouchable, along with super-stud outifelder Jason Heyward.
It’s really looking like the Braves package will revolve around Jake Peavy and Khalil Greene for Yunel Escobar, and then two or three out of the group of Cole Rohrbaugh, Brandon Jones, Tyler Flowers and Julio Teheran. Braves fans may swallow hard when they see some of these names, but they are all second-tier prospects, and this is following the Dan Haren model of quantity over quality. And the Braves system can handle it. Should they? That’s another question for another time. Another question for another time is if the rumored Chicago Cubs package is actually better, and we’ll cover that later this week here at At The Dish. But for now, let’s look at the players rumored in the Braves deals.
Read More | Atlanta Journal Constitution
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