Braves send Green to Rays for J. Sosa

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Jorge Sosa‘s a live arm, who has spent three years in the majors now moving between starting and relieving without much success. His career ERA is 5.17 and last season it was 5.53, 6.10 as a reliever. What he has going for him is a 98 MPH fastball and nearly a strikeout an inning. What he has going against him are control problems and home run problems. Sosa has enough talent to have been drafted twice in the Rule 5 draft. He’s been bad enough to be exposed to the Rule 5 draft and also to have been allowed to leave on waivers. I assume that the Braves saw something here they can fix, because otherwise I don’t get it. If Buddy Hernandez gets sent down to AAA to make room for this guy, the Braves aren’t being serious.

Sosa had a fairly massive platoon split last season. Righthanders hit only .236/.329/.344 against him, but lefties hit .283/.368/.565, with 14 homers in only 191 AB. His career splits are .222/.303/.364 and .297/.386/.498. Hard to use a starter who’s that vulnerable to lefthanded hitting.

Green’s a decent utility player but replaceable; the Braves didn’t have to trade him, though. Pete Orr will likely take his spot, unless the Braves decided to go with an extra outfielder (presumably Esix Snead) instead.

27 thoughts on “Braves send Green to Rays for J. Sosa”

  1. I don’t know much about Sosa, but at first glance, I think I would rather have Nick Green. Sosa’s scheduled to make $650K this year, plus he’s arbitration eligiable. I don’t like this deal at all. I’m not super high on Green, but TB should be very happy with this deal. Green is cheap, plays good defense, and is at worst a solid bench player.

  2. I was just looking up Seay’s stats when I saw that the Braves got Sosa instead. I think I’d rather have Seay. Looking at Sosa initially, I thought he might be similar to Juan Cruz, which worked out nicely last season. But Cruz was better – Sosa walks more and gives up more homers, and is older.

  3. I’ll miss Green. That stretch last year where he hit a couple of GW homers was a thrill. Without his production in Giles’ absence we’d have been in trouble. Good luck to him in Tampa.

  4. Well we got a “Sosa” afterall. Isn’t this guy’s confidence as shaky as Alfonseca’s was..

  5. Sosa was a former OF who only switched to pitching in 2001. Untapped potential. He still switch-hits by the way.

    Also, Carlos Delgado hit HR’s in 5 straight AB’s against him in 2003/2004. Not sure if that streak’s still alive…

  6. Well, Leo is all about control and they figure if Leo can get the guy control… he’ll by dynamite. If he can’t, well all they lost was Green.

  7. Odd move. Sosa certainly has potential, but it’s hard to imagine he’ll help this year. Green’s trade value will never be higher, but if this is all you could get, I don’t see the point of moving him.

  8. “If Buddy Hernandez gets sent down to AAA to make room for this guy, the Braves aren’t being serious.”

    I like Hernandez too, but that seems a little harsh.

  9. “Sosa has enough talent to have been drafted twice in the Rule 5 draft. He’s been bad enough to be exposed to the Rule 5 draft and also to have been allowed to leave on waivers.”

    To be fair, Sosa is a converted outfielder who didn’t even pitch in A ball until after the first time he was taken in the Rule 5 draft. He was then claimed again after his first year in A ball (2001).

    In 2002 he was put in the Tampa Bay rotation with only 60.2 career minor league innings (and no real experience above A ball). I’m not sure it was his fault he struggled.

    Altogether, Sosa has 104 strike outs and 29 walks in 105.1 minor league IP. Last year in AAA, he had 23 strike outs and 0 walks in 13 IP.

    I think that he’s pretty intriguing, considering that 1) he can throw 98 mph; 2) he is still relatively inexperienced; 3) in his limited minor league time he has been decent at throwing strikes. He strikes me as a much better project for Mazzone than most of the other arms he’s been given to work with this spring (somewhere between Jose Cabrera and Jaret Wright in potential).

    FWIW, this spring he has given up only 2 walks in 11.1 IP, but he also only has 1 strike out.

  10. 27 year old power reliever who has struggled as a starter in exchange for a 26 year old 2B backup? If Giles can stay healthy for 150+ games, its a great move.

  11. What Dan said. There’s no guarantee that Green will match his production from last year (like Charles Thomas he really faded late in the year) and a guy with Sosa’s arm is always worth a flier. Mazzone should be able to get something out of him.

  12. From what Joel says this move is sounding better. Of the projects that Leo usually gets this one seems to have decent potential to turn into something good.

  13. Except that:

    1. There is no time left in spring training for instruction.

    2. Sosa is certainly out of options, so the Braves will have to keep him on the major league roster all season, so any innings he gets to work will hurt the team.

    This is a deal you make in the offseason so you can work with a guy, not one you make on the eve of the season.

  14. ZiPS doesn’t like Sosa at all, FWIW. 5.28 ERA, only 6.2 K/9. That seems a bit pessimistic.

  15. I’m with Mac. Even if Leo can fix his control problems, I don’t see it happening in the last week of spring training. Hopefully they’ll only give him work in games that are shot anyway, that way his growing pains don’t hurt the team too bad.

  16. PECOTA’s a little kinder to Sosa:

    87.3 IP 86 H 42 BB 73 K 13 HR 4.89 ERA

    Lotsa BBs and gopher balls.

    I don’t know how Sosa fills any need, unless it’s a need for RHP relief that can throw Ks (contra Reitsma and Gryboski).

    If you look at the numbers, the Braves’ bench for hitters is shaping up to be pretty insipid.

  17. “Except that: 1. There is no time left in spring training for instruction”

    Jose Cabrera was claimed on waivers on April 12, 2001. In 2000, he had a 5.92 ERA with Houston, and he looked bad enough in spring training that they waived him. Cabrera had a 2.88 ERA and 2 saves in 59.1 IP for the Braves in 2001.

    Jaret Wright was claimed on waivers on August 29, 2003. In 2002, he had a 15.71 ERA with Cleveland, and in 2003 he had a 8.37 ERA with the Padres. Between the regular season and the playoffs, Wright allowed 2 runs in 13 IP (with 5 BBs and 13 Ks) for the Braves in 2003. A little more than 1 month after being waived by the Astros, he was Cox’s second most trusted reliever in the post-season (pitching more post-season innings than any other Braves reliever).

    Juan Cruz was acquired in trade on March 25, 2004. In 2003, he had a 6.05 ERA with the Cubs. Cruz had a 2.75 ERA in 72 IP for the Braves in 2004.

    All of these players showed almost immediate improvement in command once the Braves picked them up, and I’m pretty certain I can find other examples.

    March 31 doesn’t really seem too late to me…

  18. Cabrera, Cruz, and Wright had all pitched well in the past. Sosa has no history of pitching well on the major league level. (I’ll add that Cabrera really only pitched well for about six weeks and was out of baseball after the next season.) Also, Wright and Cabrera cost nothing to pick up, while Cruz was available for a discount because of Dusty Baker’s megalomaniac need to show everyone who’s boss. Green’s not much, but he’s a good second baseman who hit .270 last year, and Sosa wasn’t far removed from waiverbait. If Sosa’s problem is fairly easy to fix, then great. But I doubt it will be, which will leave the Braves playing with a 24-man roster much of the season, 23 if Gryboski starts the season with the team but can’t pitch, as seems likely.

  19. Altogether, Sosa has 104 strike outs and 29 walks in 105.1 minor league IP.

    The problem with those numbers is that 60 of those IPs took place in A-ball in 2001, where he dominated. As he moved up the ladder his walks and homers went up and his Ks went down. In his 300+ IPs in the majors, he has flat out sucked.

    I’ve had some time to think about the trade and I’m convinced that this is a bad deal. This guy is might be able to sell jeans, but he can’t pitch. I guarantee you that the same idiot scout who developed a man-crush on Martin recommended Sosa. He’s like Martin’s mirror image. Leo is good, but he’s got nothing to work with here, nothing. He’s worthy of an NRI, not Nick Green…and I understand that Nick Green isn’t very good.

  20. “As he moved up the ladder his walks and homers went up and his Ks went down.”

    When did this mythical moving up the ladder occur? He was jumped to the majors with no significant exposure to AA or AAA.

    FWIW, in his limited time his walk and strikeout rates are *better*, not worse, in AA and AAA then they were in A.

    Sosa has 7 IP in AA, with a 0.00 ERA, 3 strike outs, and 1 walk. Sosa has 37.3 IP in AAA, with a 40 strike outs and 9 walks. That’s a 43/9 K/BB ratio.

    The fact remains that Sosa only has a little over 400 IP in full season leagues. Given his velocity, his minor league stats, and his occasional flashes in the majors, the pessimism here is a bit overwrought.

  21. Okay, technically his K rate is better in AAA but not AA. His BB rate is better in both.

  22. I hope that the trade works out well for Green. He made an abosolute difference in 2004 and provided us with some great memories. I think that his problem was that he could only play one position.

    With respect to Sosa, I agree with Joel and Grst. I assume that a trade like this is made with lots of insights into pitching that Bobby and Leo have that the rest of us don’t. They see enough in Sosa to take the modest risk of trading Green. Jaret Wright (who was frequently called Jaret Wrong a year ago) leaps to mind. Lets hope for the best.

  23. Green could play 3b too. I think this is a good deal for both teams. Green will get to play more in TB and I think he will be a decent MLer. Sosa can come in to mop up in the first half after Hampton gives up 10 runs. This is how Sosa will learn. We all know he will be the 12th man and will only work in blow outs. It’s not like he is going to come in and face Beltran in the 8th with the bases loaded in a 4-4 game. Leo will get to work with him durring the season. This is only a mild gamble and if it works out at all it will be a great trade.

    If Martin farts and falls durring the season ans Sosa looks decent in blow outs we can move Sosa for a lefty in July when the Pirates, Tigers, and Blue Jays will be giving them away.

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