Something is wrong in baseball. There is no doubt about it. Does the economy alone explain the players that are still available after the new year?
Useful parts like Eric Hinske, Joe Crede, and Jim Edmonds often have to wait until spring training to get a job. They are used to waiting around until teams decide they have a need and have a chance to compete and need to fill a spot with a veteran. The fact that these guys are still available doesn’t seem to really point to any core problem with the system.
“Stars” like Manny Ramirez, Adam Dunn, Derek Lowe, Bobby Abreu, and Oliver Perez are also often out of work at this time of the year. It’s not that they can’t get a job. No, this class of player has a highly disputed value. The player and their agent are steadily manipulating general managers and the media, trying to get the offers in line with what they feel is commensurate with the production of the player. Manny already had a 2-year, $45 million dollar offer, and Lowe has turned down 3 years and $36 million from the Mets. Those numbers still represent raises over what the player earned last year, so inflation in the steady rise of veteran’s pay is still in effect.
So why is there obviously a problem?
In a word, Orlando Cabrera.
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.
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