I do not like this deal

Reports are surfacing that the Braves have traded the currently disappointing Yunel Escobar and the perpetually disappointing Jo-Jo Reyes to Toronto for Alex Gonzalez and two minor leaguers. Gonzalez is 33 years old and has some pop (17 homers this year, 131 in his career) but is not nearly the defensive player he once was or Yunel still is, and has a .294 career OBP, .296 this year, because he is a low-average hitter who doesn’t walk. Updates to come.

UPDATE THE FIRST: The prospects are Tyler Pastornicky, an infielder, and Tim Collins, a 5-7 lefty relief pitcher. Collins has some really nifty numbers, but what that means is anyone’s guess. Pastornicky appears to be a tools goof; at any rate, he hasn’t done anything in the minor leagues yet to earn any attention. Sickels rated Collins the 20th-best prospect in a thin organization, and did not rate Pastornicky in the top twenty.

UPDATE THE SECOND: Links… Braves PR, DOB blog entry.

383 thoughts on “I do not like this deal”

  1. Just when everyone was feeling good about the Braves, Wren goes and trades for a guy with a career .299 wOBA. Awful, awful trade.

  2. good god. what a frickin’ waste. count me in as not liking alex gonzalez and his francoeurian obp.

  3. From DOB, this is Wren’s quote:

    “This trade improves our club for the second half of the season,” Executive Vice President and General Manager Frank Wren said. “We have been looking at ways to strengthen our club offensively and Alex Gonzalez is a proven veteran player who gives us added power. He is a winner and a solid offensive presence in the lineup as well as a quality defensive shortstop.”

    Joe Morgan has apparently hijacked the front office.

    Just for this year alone, zips projects the following numbers for each player’s 2nd half:
    Gonzalez: .242/.288/.414
    Escobar: .280/.357/.390

    Also, Escobar has been the better defensive shortstop, possibly the best in the NL so far this season. I’m dumbstruck.

  4. Here’s the part where all of you complain about the trade of a guy with a .618 OPS who is also a drag on the entire team.

  5. Yeah, the more I look at this the more I’m just BAFFLED. Neither of the minor league guys seem to have much to say about them based on stats (both are 20). Alex G is likely to regress to career avgs and he’s not “normally” as powerful as he was in 1st half…

    edit: Oops, misread stats on the pitcher… he seems more promising.

  6. Wow.. talking about selling low. You wouldn’t give up this guy for Peavy last year (and thank God for that), but then you go and give him up for THIS guy and some mid-level prospects?!

    Escobar must have REALLY pissed somebody off. He was better than this. This is the first move Wren has made that actually really disappoints me.

  7. Some quick thoughts;

    Don’t like downgrading the defense given the groundballers like Lowe, Hudson, and Moylan.

    This is a club that could probably afford to give up some obp to get some slugging.

    Prospects look pretty good, though the 5’7″ one would have to look up at Medlen. But this team is trying to win this year so netting prospects isn’t such a plus.

    Reyes needed a scenery change; hope it works out well for him.

  8. No, Bethany’s right. Alex Gonzalez may not be the greatest shortstop ever, but Yunel Escobar was not helping the team at all. Gonzalez’s defense isn’t gonna be that much worse than Escobar’s. Why everyone was assuming Escobar would turn it around, I have no idea, but it simply wasn’t worth it anymore. Plus, the improved offense he provides over Escobar will make up for the drop in defense.

    This is absolutely your standard addition by subtraction move.

  9. I added updates about the prospects. Neither is particularly highly rated.

    Guys, the defensive dropoff is big, but not as big as I thought. Plus/Minus has Yunel as, by far, the best shortstop in baseball this year, +27, but AGony (trying that out) as +14, which is good for fourth.

  10. “Plus, the improved offense he provides over Escobar will make up for the drop in defense.”

    It’s possible, insofar as anything is possible, for Gonzalez to improve the offense. But in all likelihood Escobar will be the better offensive player in the 2nd half. On the other hand, I doubt the defense will suffer much if only because Gonzalez is also a very good defensive shortstop.

    The main issue, other than the fact that the Braves just weakened their 2nd half roster a bit, is that Escobar was an affordable, above-average player (with the exception of this season’s 1st half) for a few more years. Gonzalez is meanwhile signed for just this season. That means the Braves now potentially will have holes at 3B, 1B, SS, LF, and CF this offseason. It is totally irresponsible to create a new offseason hole when you have four potentially staring at you already. Again: dumbfounded.

  11. @14

    Maybe it was his previous two seasons where he was actually pretty good offensively? Why you would write him off after half a season, I have no idea.

  12. Couldn’t I enjoy McCann’s performance for at least a day? I’ve been one of Yunel’s biggest backers from day one and had reason to believe he would turn it around in the 2nd half, so yes I am disgusted. Totally disgusted.

  13. I am so sad about Bobby Johnson. Hope he and his family are OK.

    I am so torn on Yunel Escobar — sad that it didn’t work out, but overjoyed that the douche is gone.

  14. @16

    Gonzalez has a team option for $2.5 million next year according to Rotoworld.

    Not thrilled about this either. Too great of a chance that Yunel outperforms Gonzalez during the second half.

  15. It’s also worth noting that even at his current pace–career lows at the plate–Escobar would have been a 2-win player, making him a bit less than Jeter and Reyes (also struggling at the plate, relatively for them). But for two years Escobar has averaged nearly a 4 WAR, which is really, really good. By contrast Alex Gonzalez has never been above 3, although he’ll get there this year with his career (age 33) year.

    EDIT: @24, thanks. Good to know. I guess they’ll pick it up for that price, though I’d be shocked if he replicates his 1st half production for almost any of the remaining year and a half of this contract.

  16. So Collins is a young short lefty with a high K rate … wonder if Billy Wags has some ‘splaining to do for some after hours activity early in his career.

    (I am just kidding about this.)

  17. I REALLY don’t like this deal. What do we do at SS after this season? Why does no one think Escobar could bounce back with the bat? I just don’t get trading an elite defensive SS who you’ve got under control for 3 more years. He clearly couldn’t have been destroying the club house too much, since we were in 1st place…. And it sounds like the prospects we got are a potential LOOGY and a tools guy who’s yet to do anything. That’s REALLY the best we could do?

    FWIW, I think this hurts the team more down the road than for 2010.

  18. Escobar really grated on my nerves, but this move is still quite perplexing.

    I don’t feel good…

  19. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’m disgusted, but I am confused. This move would make a lot more sense if we had somebody waiting in the wings to play short everyday next year. But as it is, we’re going to have to fill holes at 3, 5, 6, and 7. Maybe 8 if McLouth comes back with the bends.

    Yunel probably shouldn’t have lollipopped that throw to Glaus.

  20. Minor note that may become important: The Braves also cleared a 40-man roster spot with this deal by including Joseph, as neither of the minor leaguers acquired is on the 40-man yet.

  21. Well, first of all, Buster Olney just said on ESPN that there is a very affordable team option for next year on Gonzalez, so we will probably have him next year and be able to kick the SS opening down the road a year.

    Second, nobody is admitting the fact that it’s possible that Escobar was a drag on the clubhouse and the entire team. It’s possible that the team just couldn’t handle it anymore. Escobar is not important enough to torpedo the entire team, if in fact that was happening, because of numbers. He’s simply not good enough to offset his awful attitude. He’s just not. And as I said before, why everyone thought that Escobar was guaranteed to turn it around is a little bit beyond me. He kind of had the look, to me, of someone who was just lost and might never get it back. At the very least, he’s no different from Jeff Francoeur and Nate McLouth. Francoeur we ran out of town on a rail, and McLouth is about to come back and we have people on here wanting to play Gregor Blanco instead. I’ve never understood why everyone loves Escobar so much. He’s not that great, especially playing like this.

    Also, J.P. Ricciardi apparently likes the prospects. I know that sways you.

  22. Also wondering if Wren/Cox thought of dealing Melky instead. (Again, just kidding here.)

  23. I think this trade tells us that the rumors last week (the ones saying that “the players were tired of Yunel’s antics”) must have had some truth behind them. It’s an addition by subtraction trade.

    If the Braves had decided that Escobar had to go ASAP, this is a better trade than I would have expected. They get a major-league shortstop back, along with a couple of minor prospects. That means they can survive the season, and readdress the position in the offseason.

  24. I have to believe that things were getting bad with him in the clubhouse to understand this trade. I’m not completely disgusted by it, but taking on field performance alone it seems the Blue jays got the better for the long run (unless these prospects pan out into anything).

    If he was really becoming that big a drain in the club house, then this is probably for the best.

  25. Good God what a terrible deal. It’s not an exaggeration to say I felt sick to my stomach when I read this headline.

    FU Frank Wren for doing this. You are a clueless hack.

  26. I think the odds are very high that Bobby went to wren and asked him to get rid of Escobar. Bobby wasn’t even making eye contact with him lately. Yunel frequently had to be consoled by his teammates in the middle of his pouting spells, and he’s just too damn old to require special attention. I’m sorry, I’m not sad that he’s gone, and I think a stronger clubhouse in this situation is very important.

  27. “Do we even have an SS prospect left in the pipeline for 2011/2012 AT ALL?”

    We paid a lot of money this spring for a big-time SS from somewhere in the Carribean whom the Braves described as the equivalent of a 1st round draft choice. A bunch of teams were chasing the kid. The kid is supposed to show up and play on 1 of our minor-league teams this summer.

  28. This trade is completely a Yunel litmus test. I think it’s borderline panicky and definitely shortsighted. Even if you think Yunel had to go, surely there is a contender out there who needs a SS that would give more than this…stuff.

  29. They must be really hot on the 5’7″, 155 lbs Collins for this trade to make any sense. Sure, he can fit in Heyward’s pocket, but he gets up to the mid-90s and has really good numbers in the minors so far. He turns into a stud, and Wren looks like a genius.

    I can’t fathom any other reason for being on the wrong end of a buy low/sell high swap.

  30. If he was becoming a big drain on the clubhouse, you couldn’t see it on the field. We just won two series on the road against our biggest divisional rivals.

    Think we asked on Bautista and the dialogue came to this?

  31. You’re thinking of Salcedo, who is playing shortstop in, I think, Rome, but is not really a shortstop, but a third baseman. The closest thing to a shortstop prospect in the system right now is Mycal Jones.

  32. @42 – We paid a lot of money for a big time SS this spring

    He’s not likely to ever see SS in the majors

  33. ““Do we even have an SS prospect left in the pipeline for 2011/2012 AT AL”

    Lipka and Salcedo are both solid prospects, the latter especially. But they’re both a couple years away at least. And as folks here have mentioned, Salcedo projects to be a 3B.

  34. @28, i agree that Omar will probably see alot more time at SS than originally planned. atleast i hope so.

    and i agree that this trade would be better if we had somebody waiting to take over at SS next year but it sounds like Salcedo is still a couple years away and will end up at 3b.
    too bad Brandon Hicks cant hit his way out of a wet paper bag.

  35. If he was really becoming that big a drain in the club house, then this is probably for the best.

    This team seems to have the best chemistry of any in recent memory and is performing at a high level. I expect a full offensive resurgence from Yunel and that he will continue to be one of the top defensive SS in the league.

  36. The lefthanded kid with 73 Ks in 43 innings with only 16 walks in an age 20 season for double A doesn’t look like a stiff. I like how the organization under Wren has seemed to target and develop power bullpen arms.

  37. @41

    I’m well aware of that. He works for ESPN now. That line was actually a joke, seeing that it pretty much contradicted what Mac said about them and I’m pretty sure Mac’s right.

  38. Wow, not surprised hes gone but A.Gon in return does not give me a warm and fuzzy feeling.
    Wren has made pretty good moves in his tenure, lets hope this one works as well.

    anybody know what next seasons free agent SS market looks like?

  39. That’s a good point. In the last years of Schuerholz — the Gryboski Era most notably — the Braves seemed to be going out of their way to stock the bullpen with soft tossers and ground-ball specialists. Wren likes strikeouts.

  40. I think I’m mainly disappointed in that I think we should have gotten more for the guy.

  41. This trade is completely a Yunel litmus test. I think it’s borderline panicky and definitely shortsighted. Even if you think Yunel had to go, surely there is a contender out there who needs a SS that would give more than this…stuff.
    No contender would have been willing to trade their starting SS for Escobar, most likely. The fact that we needed to get back someone who could start at SS for at least the rest of the year really limits the market.

  42. I think I’m going to find some of the Habu-zake that the Okinawans brew down here.

    I can see dealing Yunel, though. I’m not exactly happy about it, but it was obvious that he caused a lot of problems. What would everyone here be saying if the Glausosaur had broken his wrist the other night? And it’s not like that was the first time Yunel had done something boneheaded.

    If it helps the clubhouse, I’ll sleep okay.

  43. If they did it for Bobby or Chipper then it is ridiculous. As noted earlier, with ground pitchers like Lowe and Hudson, Escobar is essential. Who cares that Bobby doesn’t like Escobar. He’s out after this year. Now if Heyward, McCann, Hanson, Jurrens, Prado or even Medlen had a problem with Yunel…then I could MAYBE understand. They are the future. This really sucks.

  44. I think a lot of the third base talk was predicated on the belief that we’d have Escobar at short for some period of time. It’s not like Salcedo is too big for the position. He’s the same height and 35 pounds lighter than Hanley Ramirez.

  45. Seems like Pastornicky gives us some Minor League IF depth. Stole over 50 bases last year.

  46. Lifted from Primer:

    Escobar .291/.368/.403, 27 years old
    Gonzalez .248/.294/.402, 33 years old

    Anytime you can add a guy on the wrong side of 30 with a career .294 OBP you have to do it.

  47. I have to think the Braves know more about what Yunel was doing to the clubhouse than you do. And I have to think, based on the fact that we traded him, that it was a real problem, at least after that hung-over/sleep-walked performance on Friday, which appears now to have been the last straw, as it were.

  48. I’ll echo Robert here: everyone talks about how great the Braves clubhouse has been this season. This seems like it has more to do with Bobby Cox and Yunel Escobar than “the clubhouse,” especially considering all the quotes DOB cited this morning. I don’t know details, obviously, but it seems like somebody is talking out of both sides of their mouth right now.

  49. Um… Yunel was a Gold Glove-caliber shortstop who came into the season a career .301/.375/.426 hitter. He might have been the best player on the team last year. His most-similar batter through Age 26 is a Hall of Famer (Luke Appling). I don’t think we’re overrating him.

  50. Wren doubles down on the Venezuelan strategy, which seems to have worked out well for us lately. (Continues search for silver lining.)

  51. Also being lost in this is the fact that we needed more power, and we got it in this trade. If we were going to trade Escobar anyway, this really isn’t all that bad.

  52. Related to this gibberish, now that Diory is back at Gwinnett and has played some games why hasn’t he been swapped out into the “Brandon Hicks pinch runner break open otherwise only in case of disaster” roster position?

    My thinking is Diory is never going to be more than a mediocre field, all BA, low BA player who is a “last off the bench” player. He can do that about as well as Hicks now.

    Hicks HAS shown a litlte bit of power (by short stop standards) and a little bit of walk ability. He has struck out terribly. MAYBE with regular playing time at Gwinnett, Hicks can be better.

    Thoughts on the above sideshow?

    No other trade Wren has done looks this bad. Somebody (players, coaches, Cox) wanted Escobar gone bad. With the teams performance the last 75 days, I don’t see the “chemistry” argument making sense.

  53. This trade still seems weird. I can only think of two positives. One is that the pitching prospect could make the majors. Another is that Gonzalez will probably be cheaper than Escobar next year, even though Escobar is in his first year of arbitration.

    You have to think that Wren is really trusting some scouting. Scouting that says that the first eight years of Gonzalez’ career can be disregarded, and he’ll be an .800 OPS SS w/20 hr for $2.5 mil next year. Scouting that says Escobar has completely lost his ability to hit and will not be worth his arbitration award next year. Scouting that says this prospect has a good shot at the bigs. All of that together, and this trade makes sense. It’s the only way I can really understand it.

  54. From Twitter:

    ajcbraves: Frank Wren has made some very good trades and a couple not-so-good. This one looks to be one of his best, without question.

    ajcbraves: It’s not just you. Braves traded NL-worst slugging % for .497 slugging RT @WhoJdunk33: @ajcbraves is it just me or did we just get a lot better

  55. I dunno, Diory looked like he could hit in AAA last year and since returning has hit .312 (with little secondary offense) this year. Hicks looks so terrible at the plate — I mean “looks” literally, he barely seems to know how to hold a bat — that I can’t imagine him ever being any good.

    I like DOB, but remember that he has a reason to like this trade. That is, he doesn’t have to deal with Yunel anymore. Yunel is apparently really unfriendly to reporters.

  56. I’ve been one of the biggest Bobby Cox and Frank Wren apologists for the longest time. But if Cox really had anything to do with this, then I can not WAIT to get him out of here and I can only hope that his future role as “special assistant” is nothing more than an honorary title and that he doesn’t end up persuading the FO to pass or give up on players just because they don’t play bland “American” baseball.

    Yeah Escobar made some fielding mistakes, but who doesn’t? People like to point out Escobar’s specifically though, because he plays with a little flair. It’s a double standard, imo.

  57. How do we know Gonzalez will produce the same power numbers against National League pitching? We see how Melky has struggled against NL pitching. How about Jason Heyward and Hanson to Detroit for Miguel Cabrera and Magglio…I think Hugo Chavez would be proud.

  58. AGonz Career = 1 walk every 20.25 PA
    Francoeur Career = 1 walk every 20.79 PA

    Wren almost did the impossible and found a guy who walks less the Jeffy.

  59. Everyone in Toronto has been launching bombs, so don’t expect Gonzalez to carry that power over to the Braves.

    This is trading young for old and downgrading at SS defensively. Well done. Gah.

    And maybe he’s reformed himself but Gonzalez’s nickname was “Seabass” at one point because he was a surly malcontent. So if you’re pushing the clubhouse chemistry angle, don’t go overboard.

    Who will be the Braves SS after this year? Bugs Bunny?

  60. The silver lining for me will be if a 5-7 reliever (that “fits in Heyward’s pocket”) with a serious heater makes it to the big club. He’d automatically become my favorite Brave.

  61. I think Wren was freeing up a spot to make a run at Derek Jeter in the offseason. : )

  62. I just reiterate my confusion at why everyone loves Escobar so much, when far more likeable players having years like this are roundly discarded (note that I’m referring to McLouth here…not Francoeur, before people jump on me). The man is a dick, and simply wasn’t worth it. When he was hitting .300 on a team that wasn’t going anywhere, that’s fine. We can deal with it. But when he’s the worst hitter on a team that has serious playoff potential, and is getting far more important players than him injured in the process, that is unacceptable. It really is. No one should be shedding a tear for Yunel Escobar personally, and this team will be better with him not on it.

  63. Potential or no, I’m glad I don’t have to watch him anymore. He made the Douche All-Star team a few weeks ago for good reason.

  64. I would say that I can’t believe people are freaking out about this so much, but to tell the truth I’m not really that surprised by it.

    We’re in first place at the break, and offensively at least, Yunel wasn’t doing jack. Additionally, his attitude has been less than stellar on the field for several years now. Not saying Alex Gonzalez is the answer, but people have flipped out about every move Wren has made and I would say that the results have shown on the field this season quite favorably. Of course, certain people will continue to stick their hand in the sand and evaluate every move made using their Special Super Duper Predictive Analysis. We’re not the Yankees, we can’t buy whoever we want. Sometimes its not about numbers or potential. You know, Jamarcus Russell can throw the ball really far.

    I predict this is the first of numerous moves that will be made and that this will only strengthen the team, if not on the field then in the clubhouse.

  65. Of course DOB likes the deal – Yunel never gave him anything and he probably knows Alex Gonzalez from his stint covering the Fish.

  66. #90 – I’m not having a beer with these guys after the game, I could care less if the guy is a dick. I want to win. You are going to win a hell of a lot more games with Yunel as your SS than with AGonz.

  67. Robert,

    I think it’s a bad trade but saying Wren is a “clueless hack” is really over the top. After all, it’s not as if Yunel hasn’t been a pain in the ass. I had thought that Yunel was playing his way out of Atlanta and the game the other night pretty much clinched it in my mind. But Yunel was a good player and, even this year, he was a terrific defensive player and defense hasn’t exactly been the Braves strong suit in recent years.

    As far as the clubhouse, the team is leading the division by four games. How much of a distraction could he be? I certainly would not have been averse to trading him given his propensity for boneheadedness, but this just reeks of short-termism without regard to consequences.

    I agree that this is likely Bobby saying he wants Yunel gone and the Braves are going for it in his last year and damn the torpedoes. It just seems like guys like Hudson and Lowe will miss Yunel.

  68. @97

    Really? You sure about that? Because I’m not. And define “a hell of a lot.” The Braves have been winning this year despite Yunel Escobar, not because of him.

  69. Dave O’Brien says that Gonzalez is a better shortstop than Escobar. I commented on his blog that I agreed with him. He agreed that I agreed with him. It was freaking logic.

  70. @101,

    Having a guy that gets on base as infrequently as A-Gon does will prohibit your ability to win. Yes. I’m sure about that.

  71. @90 Get real. These are grown men who get paid to play baseball. Whether they get along or not is no big deal. Pete Rose and Johnny Bench were not the best of pals. The A’s in the 70’s fought constantly. Will Clark and Barry Bonds couldn’t stand each other. John Smoltz and Chipper were not best of pals. As a matter of fact, you might be shocked of how many Braves actually did not like each other over the years. So clubhouse chemisty is totally overrated.

  72. “Dave O’Brien says that Gonzalez is a better shortstop than Escobar.”

    That’s funny. DOB is basing everything on this half season. It’s like he doesn’t know what a track record is.

    I’m sure he thinks A-Gon’s .238 ISOP is totally sustainable.

  73. This is an incredibly stupid deal. Couldn’t we at least wait until the deadline and hope that Yunel raised his stock or something?

  74. @106,

    There is three years of data that shows Escobar hits for power better than that. I expect him to rebound in the second half.

  75. I think some of the criticism is going a bit overboard. This deal isn’t a disaster short-term, and if the prospects pan out (the pitcher should almost certainly end up as a decent bullpen guy), that’ll make it sting less. But let’s be clear here. We traded away a player who was underperforming with the bat for one who is dramatically over his career norms. Sure, it’s possible that both of these guys continue at their current pace the rest of the year. But it’s also possible that both regress to their career numbers, and we’ll have traded player who is better with the glove AND bat AND is cheaper for an OBP void and a middle reliever. I’m sure Gonzalez will get a bunch of RBI, but he’ll clear the pitcher a lot less than Escobar would have, and he’ll get to fewer GBs than Escobar would have. The Braves are still the favorites, but don’t be complaining when we’ve got a SS who OBAs .290 next year.

  76. To even begin to compare Yunel Escobar to Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Will Clark, Barry Bonds, John Smoltz, Chipper Jones or the 1970s Oakland A’s is ridiculous. That’s the point. If Escobar were important at all, we would ignore the fact that he’s a dick and would not trade him. But the fact is that he’s just not. He’s the weakest link in the lineup at the moment, and his defense is not that freaking important. It’s just not. If we were trading for a 1,000-pound lawn ornament, perhaps it would be. But Alex Gonzalez will not be all that much of a downgrade, and the difference between the best defensive shortstop in the league and a very good defensive shortstop is simply not enough to be worrying about, especially when the offensive difference between the two is so noticeable in the other direction. And forgive me for not knowing where those predictive statistics are coming from, but why anyone thinks Escobar will hit .280 the rest of the way is a complete mystery to me. What has anyone seen this year to think that is going to happen?

  77. While I’ll grant that Yunel is an ass and probably needed a change of scenery, why not just plug Omar at short and use Yunel for another hitter, a real hitter, not a guy who only hits home runs and probably wont keep up his current pace. I don’t really have a problem moving Escobar, I just really can’t wrap my head around this exact move.

  78. Good trade .. Escobar has too many mental lapses that wear on mgr and teammates … and he will never get better in hitting .. his swing is awful .. he catches about half the ball and hits weak fly balls to right … I do think escobar is a bit better defensively but we are getting upgrade in offense … look for the Braves to go Free agent for SS after next year.

  79. What’s the over/under on how many games it takes for people to start getting upset every time Gonzalez goes up to the plate and hacks away just like Francoeur? Because that’s essentially what we have here. An old Francoeur playing SS who gets on base less, hits for less average, and less power than the aforementioned Frenchman.

  80. This is not a “first-place club” until it finishes the season there.

    It looked more likely yesterday than today. Hate this trade.

    If logic, rather than emotion, was the reason for this trade, then why not attempt to work a better deal with the remaining 17 days or so until the trading deadline??

    Predicted Gonzalez 2nd half HRs: 8
    Predicted Escobar 2nd half HRs: 8 (would’ve been 5-6 in ATL)

  81. Alright. Now that people are predicting that this trade is going to keep us from winning the division, the line of absurdity has certainly been crossed. I’m gonna bow out since I feel like I’m arguing in circles here. I cordially invite everyone to get a grip, though.

  82. Yunel must have gotten sideways with Cox…that’s really the only way this whole thing happened. Bobby has stuck with sooooo many guys that were doing a lot worse than Yunel has.
    As the Dude says ” Sometimes you eat the bar, sometimes the bar eats you”
    farewell Yunel…

  83. I’m puzzled. we trade this:
    291 .368 .403 .771 career slash line
    for this .248 .294 .402 .696

    Yunel must really really be a dick.

  84. Given the seasons they’re currently having, I don’t mind this trade so much. It’s a better in-season trade than a between-sesaons trade IMO. Because while regression to career norms would favor Escobar going forward, I believe their 2010 first-half performance is also a significant factor in projecting how they’ll do in the second half. How many balls has Yunel even driven to the wall this season?

    Plus, he is a dick.

  85. One hacker on a team full of patient hitters is not a problem. The lineup needed more pop and it got it. Yunel was a black hole this year, much like KJ and Francouer were last year and something needed to be done. I agree that we’re selling low on him, but given that the current mentality of the team is “win now” I don’t have a problem with this at all.

  86. I don’t love this deal, but I don’t hate it. The fact that Bobby completely lost faith in Escobar is significant. So is the fact that Escobar had a knack of pissing off everybody else other than Bobby — reporters, umpires, teammates, opponents, even diehard Braves fans like us. No matter how talented he is, you can’t work with someone you don’t trust.

    We’ve been hearing and whispering stuff about how “Yunel has to go” since last year, and his complete disappearance at the plate made that argument even more persuasive. I don’t know why Yunel couldn’t figure out how to play nice with others, or quit making insanely boneheaded plays, but he couldn’t. I made excuses for him for ages, because on the whole, as Mac says, he’s a really really good player: terrific glove and a good bat, one of the best 5-7 shortstops in baseball. Ultimately, the Braves got rid of him because that wasn’t enough. And deep down, every time he threw another ball away or got caught stealing or mouthed off to an umpire or failed to hustle, a lot of us already knew that.

    Alex Gonzalez is a pretty good shortstop. Very good glove, and while he has a terrible OBP, he has good power for a bottom-of-the-order hitter. Jo-Jo Reyes is basically a nonentity at this point: like Bruce Chen and Odalis Perez, he somehow simply couldn’t muster the ability to throw strikes in an Atlanta Braves uniform. The two prospects they sent us are extremely unlikely to make a significant contribution to the team this year or ever, and that’s fine. If the little relief pitcher could turn into Jonny Venters, that would be spectacular. If not, no skin off my back.

    We basically wound up trading Escobar for Khalil Greene after all — a good-field, good-power, low-OBP shortstop –but we traded for the version of Khalil Greene who’s still in the majors. Gonzalez won’t kill us. We’ll bat him 8th and he’ll give Derek Lowe and Tim Hudson nearly the same groundball defense that Yunel did. He won’t be as good as Yunel, but he won’t be significantly worse. At this point, for a panic trade, that’s the best we could hope for.

  87. I am as big a fan of 27 year old, .290 hitting with some power, superior defensive shortstops with nice contracts as anyone.

    I can only assume Wren knows something we don’t, that would indicate the good Yunel is not coming back any time soon.

  88. I’m surprised Wren got all that in return for Esco. I would have DFA’d the jackass the moment he let that pop fly fall. Or maybe the moment he lollipopped the throw that almost injured Glaus.

  89. While I’ll grant that Yunel is an ass and probably needed a change of scenery, why not just plug Omar at short and use Yunel for another hitter

    This is the key point right here. If you feel like you have to trade Yunel for Bobby’s sanity, fine. But get something useful for him! Not a Frenchy who can cover SS. How about a real CF? Or a bullpen arm to cover for Saito’s impending flame out?

    I’ll take the bet that Yunel will outhit and outplay AGonz for the remainder of the year.

  90. I have as much consternation over this one as i did over the aforementioned Dye for Tucker trade.

  91. Hoped so much that Escobar would turn around this second half…

    Let’s hope Gonzalez hits a bunch of homers, because apparently that’s what we traded for

  92. Yunel’s fate was sealed on that play in NY where Francouer had close play at first and hurt Glaus’ hand because Yunel lollygagged a toss to first base. In the aftermath, he never even gave a head nod or sorry man gesture to Glaus.

    At least Fredi Gonzalez wont have to deal with pre-madonna short stops next year.

  93. I wish people would stop talking about Yunel’s career averages like he’s been in the league for 8 years. We have 3 years worth of data on the guy, hardly enough to be considered ironclad proof that Yunel is a great hitter.

  94. @104 There’s a difference between not liking or having a personal relationship with people who are professionally dedicated, and losing respect for how someone approaches the game, and the attitude they take on field.

    The nebulous concept of “chemistry” no doubt is overrated in that it’s a clutch for uncreative sports writers, but people with rotten attitudes on the field can really become so disruptive as to become a negative distraction to the other players. With his latest episode, Yunel seemed from our vantage point to be approaching that level.

  95. So, where does Bobby bat Gonzalez? I have a bad feeling it’s going to be 6th behind Glaus killing rallies.

  96. If only Frank Wren took the suggestions of all of his detractors on here, perhaps the Braves would be in first place.

  97. FWIW, I don’t think this is going to cost us the division or anything… I’m just not convinced it’s an upgrade right now, and expect it to be a downgrade in the future with no highly promising SS in the pipeline.

  98. I’d be willing to be this came from Bobby and Chipper, the two guys who should have absolutely NO BEARING on any decision affecting the future of this team.

    Yunel had problems with Bobby and Chipper. Both of them are gone next year.

    If you think this is a good trade, you are wrong. Trading a cost-controlled gold glove with a career line like Escobar’s is brain-dead. Oh how quickly people forget the numbers Yunel put up last year. Go ahead and check his line with RISP.

  99. pre-madonna, before madonna??? j/k

    #129 – Alex I agree with most of what you said. You are correct that one guy that flouts the standards set by the team/company/manager can cause problems. This has to be the REAL reason the Braves traded him. But I disagree with you a tad in that I think there is very little chance that AGony can duplicate his first half power surge playing half his games in the Ted.

  100. So, where does Bobby bat Gonzalez? I have a bad feeling it’s going to be 6th behind Glaus.

    Depends on where the CF hits. If you’re still running out Blanco, then you bat Gonzalez 6th or 7th, where his slugging drives in runs where possible, and then bat Blanco 8th as a “second leadoff hitter.”

  101. NT, Chipper has always talked about how the org shouldnt give up on Yunel. Its a Bobby/FO thing

  102. I don’t think line up position matters much except trying to alternate lefties and righties.

    Gonzalez has no appreciable LHP/RHP career splits. I’m fine with him batting anywhere in the order.

  103. “The Braves have been winning this year despite Yunel Escobar, not because of him.”

    This is why you’re “arguing in circles.” You’re not engaging other people’s arguments. Even at his worst–this year–Escobar is a 2-win player, primarily because of his outstanding defense. He is a big, probably the primary reason our groundballers are outperforming their peripherals. He’s a big reason why our team ERA is so low (not the only reason, mind you).

    Now, Gonzalez might end up being ok for this year. But for folks to ask why I’m so “sure” Escobar is going to turn it around, they have to ignore the obvious counter question: why are you so sure Gonzalez will maintain a level of production so far beyond his career norms? He has over 5000 plate appearances at the major league level. It is far, far more likely that Gonzalez’s power will regress to his career levels than stay at their 2010 level–a sampling of 348 plate appearance. If that happens, he will be less good at fielding AND hitting than Escobar.

    In other words, I’m not even convinced we’ll get more power out of Gonzalez. Most projection systems have Gonzalez providing another 6-8 home runs; Escobar will hit maybe 4-5 before the season ends. Big deal.

  104. @139

    3 years isn’t enough to project him as a pretty good player, but 3 months is enough to write him off as entirely worthless?


  105. Although Yunel was one of my favorite Braves(now it’s Hanson, Medlen, and Heyward), I’m over it. The fear I have about the Braves in the post season(if they get that far), is the lack of a dominant starter. Hudson has been great, but even in his great days with the A’s, he faltered in the 2nd half and the postseason. Hanson is still learning, and I wouldn’t classify JJ as dominant. I am hoping, in this year of the pitcher, that a John Smoltz type will not be needed…but that is my only true worry.

  106. @146 – His “line with RISP” is meaningless. His overall offensive production, however, is not. With that said, this is clearly a “win now, establish expected behavior, clubhouse chemistry” type move. They like Gonzalez’ pop over Escobar’s OBP going forward, and they’re trying to maximize 2010 before Bobby exits. Long term this looks like a loser for the Braves, but that really depends on Yunel’s head.

    A good comp for this deal may be the Jeremy Giambi/Jon Mabry deal.

  107. oh well if nothing else this trade takes some of the boredom out of the allstar break.

  108. Yeah, and allowing the Phillies to catch up by downgrading at SS takes some of the boredom out of the end of the year.

    People love pennant races. We thought the Vazquez and Soriano trades were due to a tight budget, but they were really because the team was getting too good.

  109. How can anyone NOT like this trade? Yunel was a cancer on this team. He was given infinite chances to get his ass in gear, and continued to play like someone had just kicked his dog.

    Not to mention…he kinda sucked this year. Did I leave that out in the first paragraph? .238 with *0* HR’s and the majority of his RBI’s coming on opening day. And he nearly forced Glaus to have his arm amputated because he wanted to read the writing on the baseball and stare at butterflies.

    This is a win-now move. A Clubhouse move. Bu-Bye Yunel, and your frosted tips.

    /end rant

  110. I would not be surprised to see another move either. We picked up another good young arm and they are always in demand.
    Maybe Frankie has something else cooking.

  111. #157 – thanks for the link. Thorough analysis always helps.

    I did. numbers propped up by a hot start. Oh well.

  112. Someone said “big deal about his defense.” I think it is a big deal–shortstop is possibly the most important defensive position on the field. Yunel is a top-flight shortstop. And his hitting is likely to pick up.

    I’m very skeptical of a guy changing leagues who is having a career year and continuing to do so. I don’t think anyone really knows what we are getting with Gonzalez.

    On the other hand, I can understand why Bobby wanted Yunel gone. He is a bonehead and you can no longer attribute it to youth–he’s 27. The play with Glaus and the popup the other night were both disgraces. At some point, you have to grow up and become professional.

    What bothers me is the future. At 33, you can hardly expect Gonzalez to be the shortstop of the future and, unless he really has turned it around or he benefits from going to the NL, I can’t see a lot of upside with him. If this was a generally young team making a move to add a veteran that would be one thing. But, this isn’t really a young team. The infield is now ancient except for Prado; the outfield will obviously be younger with Heyward’s return, but there are going to be a lot of pieces to replace over the next few years. If they were getting someone that I was confident would add pop to the lineup,even if just for this year, I wouldn’t complain, but I don’t think you can count on that. I sure hope Wren is right.

  113. Does anyone know if Gonzalez speaks English, so Prado will not have to translate for him along with Cabrera and Infante? Just curious. Seeing Andrus at the all-star….nevermind.

  114. It is possible that Escobar could rebound in the second half and that Gonzalez could regress. My point, though, is that Escobar’s attitude is so awful that it really doesn’t matter. If you look at these two players, Gonzalez is not enough of a downgrade from Escobar to make it not worth doing this deal. Escobar simply never was that important of a player for the Braves. Downgrading slightly to get rid of his attitude is more than worth it. You can’t quantify his crappy attitude through statistics, but if the Braves thought that whatever Escobar was likely to do in the second half wouldn’t offset his crappy attitude, then they absolutely made the right move.

    And also, that people are blaming Bobby Cox and Chipper Jones for this is laughable. First of all, they are just the manager and the de facto team captain. Clearly, since one will be gone and one may be gone next year, the team should just stop listening to its manager and its captain. That sounds like a good idea. Secondly, to think that just those two hold an unfair grudge against Escobar is equally ridiculous. I can almost guarantee that pretty much everyone in that clubhouse hates Escobar. Anyone who doesn’t either has some sort of personal relationship with him or hasn’t been paying attention. Your assumptions that only two people in that clubhouse are sick of Escobar are far-fetched, to say the least.

  115. he will be less good at fielding AND hitting than Escobar.

    This is pretty much what I expect to happen. It could easily be that rare ‘win now’ trade that has a ‘lose now’ effect. No easy feat. Although with plenty of time until the deadline, Frank is probably working on an even bigger turd for the punchbowl.

  116. Yunel is solid defensively and has been productive offensively as recently as last year. His skill set was probably not the reason for the trade.

    I liked Escobar. I wish both him and Jo Jo well.

    Play ball.

  117. Escobar simply never was that important of a player for the Braves.

    See, this is where you come across as just nuts. He entered the year as a starting gold glove caliber shortstop coming of a 116 OPS+ and just entering his prime. But somehow a player like that isn’t important to the team.

  118. Teams make decisions based on personality and behavior all the time (see, e.g., Phillies shopping Werth). All of us statheads have to keep in mind that these are real people running around on the field, throwing balls and swinging bats. Real people like to work with other people they like, respect and feel share commonalities. Esco had lost that — or never had it — with his teammates and coaches. Good for the Braves for not modeling their personnel decisions on the Raiders’ philosophy.

  119. It may be true that a lot of the players don’t like Escobar (or at least his attitude)but that’s not the point. They traded a young, relatively inexpensive player who has played well in the past and, even with the stupid plays, is one of the best defensive shortstops in baseball, for a much older guy having a career year. I will acknowledge that Gonzalez is also a good shortstop but if he doesn’t hit home runs, there is basically no value to this deal. Being sick of a guy’s attitude doesn’t mean you just trade him for the sake of trading him. It’s one thing to trade a Jeff Francouer, whose performance was really holding the team back. Yunel wasn’t really hurting the team even though he was having a bad year offensively because he was still a good shortstop.

    It’s true that people would rather work with people they like. But, realistically, most people work with some people they don’t like and I would bet that, in sports, there are a lot of clashing personalities in clubhouses. Having players that all like each other is nice–although I doubt that’s the situation on many teams–but it doesn’t necessarily translate to better performance.

  120. @168, Gonzalez is regressing already. Last 28 days – .215/.250/.456. This trade is going to be exposed as a disaster right away wrt immediate offensive help. Batting in front of a pitcher is just going to make it even worse.

  121. There really isn’t much reason to nay-say this about youth. The Braves have a 20 year old starting RF. In 2011 they almost certainly will have a 21 year old 1B. Their rotation are babies.

    If the Braves think Escobar’s attitude makes him a long term detriment – and pretty obviously they think it does – then they are right to trade him. His value this year is less than Alex Gonzalez, even with regression to mean. His value going forward must assume that this year is the abberation. If the Braves don’t believe that, they have to make the move to replace him.

    The Braves will have a 2.5 mil option on Gonzalez for 2011 if he performs adequately in the second half. Otherwise, they’re on the market for a starting SS.

  122. Marc, the Mets game was the icing on the cake — or nail in the coffin — for Esco. That was not the performance of a good defensive shortstop, period. It was clear that Esco was unhappy, or checked out, or both. Evidently the Braves decided that Esco wasn’t going to continue doing well the one thing that he had been contributing to the team. Cut bait and get the best you can for him.

    Oh, and there aren’t many teams with young players who have clashing personalities. Maybe some veterans, but the young guys get shipped out.

  123. Nick,

    How do you know how much of a “dick” Yunel was? It’s amazing how much insight you have inside of the Braves clubhouse. And for Chipper being the de facto team captain, no wonder this franchise has only one World Championship. He is no Derek Jeter, sorry Chippah….

    I just wish there was magical way we could find out who is liked or disliked in each clubhouse. How unpopular is BJ really in Tampa? Or Matt Kemp in LA? Is King Albert really beloved by all his teammates in St. Louis? How is A-Rod doing in the Bronx? What about Hanley in Florida? What do your sources tell you, Nick?

  124. Hate the deal, but I have been following Tim Collins for a couple of years. Interesting prospect, have heard people say he’d be one of the top prospects in baseball if he were 6 inches taller.

    In related news, the poll at AJC has “good trade” leading “bad trade” 82%!?! to 18%. I know they probably follow the mouthpiece (DOB) but that seems high.

  125. @ 179 – Hah, I’ve heard of power and control developing with age, but height might be problem at this stage of his life.

    P.S. Probably all of the Braves clubhouse voting that has skewed the poll results.

  126. With regards to Chipper not being Jeter, I’m guessing it’s because Chipper doesn’t intentionally dive into the seats when he doesn’t have to, just to get on SportsCenter.

  127. i’m not a fan of this trade, but i’ll stand by my word…i now loathe escobar and will cheer against him every chance i get.

  128. Okay with this deal because I’m betting on Frank Wren. My faith may be misguided, but someone in the organization has decided that they can’t win the pennant with Yunel at shortstop. It may be Bobby.
    Wren has put together a good pitching staff. I hope AGony has the pop in his bat to give them some backup.

  129. This is like bitching about about the weather. What are you gonna do about it if it’s good or bad? Go Braves.

  130. @178 I just going off memory here, don’t feel like looking up stats. How about the number of clutch post-season hits or world championships? But I don’t want to make this about Chipper. He is still a HOF.

  131. Guys, this is a five-player-deal. Simply comparing Esco’s and Gonzo’s stats is a little unfair, to say the least. Maybe this Collins guy will make Wren look terribly smart in a couple of years.

    Wasn’t there a report somewhere that Bobby kicked his chair multiple times when Glaus hurt his Wrist because of Esco’s errant throw? How pissed must he have been to do that? I mean, he is BOBBY COX, not LaRussa or some jerk. If Bobby demanded Esco to be traded, which I believe was the case, then Wren simply HAD to do it.

    I’m not saying I like this trade, but I’m not totally against it either.

  132. Okay with this deal because I’m betting on Frank Wren.

    That’s basically where I am, Kevin. Hyperbole to the contrary notwithstanding, it’s hard to find much wrong with his tenure thus far as the Braves’ head man.

  133. “I mean, he is BOBBY COX, not LaRussa or some jerk. If Bobby demanded Esco to be traded, which I believe was the case, then Wren simply HAD to do it.”

    I cannot see Bobby demanding Wren do anything. I can see him suggesting, but demanding seems a bit unlikely. Especially since he will be gone next year. For the record, he kicked the chair six times.

  134. The Braves have been dealing with Yunel’s shenanigans since 2006, when his feud with Jeff Blauser in Mississippi played a role in pushing Blauser out of managing. At some point, you just have to part ways. Let’s just hope that Bobby doesn’t think A-Gon is top-of-the-order material.

  135. ok, suggesting. Reminds me a little of the Kolbb situation, after he refused to pitch in non-save situations. A few days later he was gone. It’s not easy to make Bobby your enemy, but if you do, you’re history.

  136. Jeff K,

    I agree; I told myself after that game that Yunel was gone. I think you are also correct that the Braves apparently decided that his talent was ultimately not going to outstrip his attitude. I don’t object to trading Yunel per se–I’m sick of him. And if Yunel was playing better (and, thus, had higher value), they wouldn’t have traded him. But I just don’t see the value of Alex Gonzalez either this year or going forward. Even assuming Yunel is a dick, does replacing him make the team better? I guess we will see.

  137. I think this is a smart move by Wren and the Braves. Here’s why.

    For one thing, what other starting shortstops were available? I doubt there were very many. And if there were any decent ones, they probably had bloated contracts. Alex is leading all SS in slugging and home runs. So yeah, he will strike out sometimes, and he has been overperforming. I still take him in a heartbeat this year over Yunel, who’s in the nastiest of slumps.

    Infante couldn’t have taken over short because he has to be ready if Chipper goes down. The possibility of that happening is too much of a risk.

    The way I see it, we had to get rid of Yunel due to attitude issues, if for no other reason than to relieve Bobby of his problem child.

    Also I think it’s great to give Jo-Jo a change of scenery and a clean slate somewhere else. Good for him. Plus we got a couple of interesting farm hands to check out.

    The biggest deal is that Alex has an affordable team option in 2011. He’s having a great season this year. So what if his second half isn’t as good? He’ll still be a damn sight better than Yunel.

    Braves win on this deal.

  138. @189, Same for me. I (like virtually everyone else on here) was upset when we got LaRoche instead of Nick Johnson last year. Signing Glaus didn’t sit well with me either. I was initially upset about the Melky trade but came to understand it, just as with the Lowe signing.

    I don’t like the trade right now, but I’m willing to shut up and see what happens. Wren has earned that much.

  139. I think after the Glaus incident, mostly everyone on the board that night knew something would happen. Even I stated Yunel’s days were numbered, but it still sort of a shock to see it happen.

  140. To correct something I’ve seen said here a number of times: Bobby will not be gone next year, he just won’t be the GM. He’ll be an advisor for team baseball operations for 5 years after retiring. Does anyone really believe he won’t have significant influence still?

  141. A couple of points I think it’s safe to make:

    1. While Yunel might be better in the second half, I don’t think Gonzalez will be worse than Yunel was in the first half, and could very easily be better.

    2. While the value is debatable, everything I’ve ever hear about Alex (especially from when he was starting at SS for 2 WS teams) is that the guy is a complete gem in the clubhouse.

    3. Taken in the context of their entire careers, the defensive difference between the two players is negligible.

    4. Considering that Jeffy got 3.4 MM in his first year of arbitration, I can easily see Yunel being more expensive next year than the 2.5 MM option we have on Gonzalez.

    5. JoJo is gone for good!

    One thing I think:

    Yunel has always been a guy who has used the off field to his advantage; however, this year, he’s been consistently late in getting around on fastballs and his batspeed in general has looked like shit. A lot of things are correctable in baseball, but the ability to turn on a fastball usually isn’t one of them. Now, maybe this trade’ll pull his head out of his ass, but I don’t think it’s a given he turns it around. His fastball hitting ability has declined every year since he broke into the big leagues. This includes his career year last year, though he was able to cover for it by crushing sliders in a way he hasn’t yet replicated.

    Overall, I don’t think we’re a much different club than we were before the trade. Yunel’ll play a little better and Alex’ll regress some. But the clubhouse will be better, and we got a couple of interesting prospects in the deal. We know what we have in Alex Gonzalez; in the end though, the trade will be judged on what the Jays got in Yunel Escobar. As to that, I don’t think anyone has a real clue.

  142. Well, let me chime in with the minority on this deal. I don’t hate it at all. Yunel was a clubhouse cancer and it’s RARE when bobby doesn’t like players but he didn’t like Yunel. Hell, Bobby even liked Gary Sheffield!

    Yunel was a drag on this lineup and for a guy to regress at the rate Yunel regressed from 2009 to 2010 is BEYOND alarming. Is Alex Gonzalez the long term answer at SS? NO. But even if he falls flat on his face by Friday, we have Infante who can be the everyday SS.

    Everyone’s painting such a rosy picture of Yunel. PLEASE. He was not the long term answer and at worst, Gonzalez is useless. At BEST, he’s as power productive the rest of the season the way he’s been in the first half. I just love everyone’s “personal projections”. Like the projections we all made on Troy Glaus and we were wrong.

  143. I think this was mentioned, but this is baseball. One of the most individualistic-sports-masquerading-as-a-team-sport known to man. Yeah, you can’t have guys fighting each other in the dugouts, but come on, where exactly does “chemistry” come into play here?

  144. I will say that this trade means we have $1 million or so less room in the budget for other deadline acquisitions this year, which isn’t great.

  145. Marc, I think it does. I also think that people outside the workplace tend to underestimate the importance of personalities and behavior to the people in the workplace. But one thing is for sure, it’s hard to measure whether a decision like this — trading a player because of a bad attitude — really pays off in the short term. I think we have to see what the Braves players say about it.

  146. Fights in the dugout DO matter. It’s why I believe we’ll never see Carlos Zambrano wear a Cubs uniform again. (and physicall assaulting the classy team leader, Derrek Lee, doesn’t help his case).

  147. Just to set the record straight, I have never heard of Sheffield being a bad teammate. Even Chipper stated how much he enjoyed playing with Sheffield.

    My final comment on Escobar, he was one of my favorite Braves, but he did not mature as much I would have hoped and now he’s gone. I just hope Heyward is back in the line-up tomorrow.

  148. Wasn’t there a report somewhere that Bobby kicked his chair multiple times when Glaus hurt his Wrist because of Esco’s errant throw? How pissed must he have been to do that?

    I posted after watching the post-game interview that Bobby was pissed at Escobar. And like Kolb, like Francoeur, a player’s tenure in Atlanta is dependent on Bobby Cox. If the front office hates your numbers but Bobby likes your leadership or whatever, you stay. If Bobby turns on you, you’re done.

    Escobar lost Bobby Cox, and now he’s gone.

  149. @197 – you’d better have a look at those splits again. Gonzalez is propped up by 100 AB’s at 629 slg pct in April. He’s cratering fast. I won’t say he’ll do worse than Yunel’s first half, but I will bet you he is going to make more outs than Yunel did over the same number of PA’s in the second half. And an out machine in the order sort of f*cks up the offensive plan of get on, wear em down, score a lot of runs.

    This will be revealed as a mistake in terms of offensive production, and in no short order.

  150. Ladies and Gentlemen,

    Lots of ifs coming…
    If the braves pick up Alex’s 2011 option and if Alex continues to hit for power, a 30 hr SS that only costs 2.5 million might bring us the right handed power we need.

  151. Just to set the record straight, I have never heard of Sheffield being a bad teammate. Even Chipper stated how much he enjoyed playing with Sheffield.

    Sheffield was *detested* when he came up with Milwaukee, and he detested them right back, to the point of claiming to intentionally make errors (when he was an infeilder) in an attempt to get traded. (Sheffield lays a lot of the blame on those problems to racist elements in Milwaukee’s clubhouse back then.)

    Sheffield was endured due to his talent in San Deigo. Never heard much about him being a bad guy in Florida, but then he had runins with management in LA.

  152. We were talking on here not too long ago about the lack of catching depth in the organization and someone had a link to the organization depth chart.

    Could someone who knows where to find it post that website, except make it for the shortstops.

    Didn’t the braves get a SS in the Vasquex deal? If I am not mistaken he is supposidly on the fast track to 2012.

    I think Yunel is pouting because he knew he was gone after next year anyway. You can pout all you want like he does when you hit .350 with RISP, but when the hits dry up you can’t keep your *ss on your shoulders, the braves will make you disappear.

  153. I think this was mentioned, but this is baseball. One of the most individualistic-sports-masquerading-as-a-team-sport known to man. Yeah, you can’t have guys fighting each other in the dugouts, but come on, where exactly does “chemistry” come into play here?

    Perhaps. But the SS is pivotal to the defense, and if you have a headcase out there who no other infielder trusts to be in the right place for the right plays, that’s a problem. Prado and Escobar never developed much of a “chemistry” turning two on the infield, for example.

  154. @198 – Like the projections we all made on Troy Glaus and we were wrong.

    An OPS+ of 118 is pretty much exactly what I expected of Glaus and said so at the time. I wasn’t the only one either. He’s right on schedule.

    At BEST, he’s as power productive the rest of the season the way he’s been in the first half.

    Gonzalez had the epitome of a Francouerian hot start illusion. It bears repeating – go look at his monthly splits.

  155. Likewise my last comment on Esco (since he’s dead to me):

    The Braves are better wihout him. That Wren got anything in return is fine with me – I would have DFA’d him 15 minutes after the Mets game last week.

  156. @208 – no SS was included in the Vazquez deal. You are thinking of international signee Salcedo, I guess.

  157. @210, Maybe Alex R. is talking about the playing time predictions for Glaus. I knew he’d hit well, but I didn’t expect 85 games and 349 PA at this point. Not at all.

  158. @208
    in the vazquez trade, we got michael dunn and arodys vizcaino. they’re both pitchers and both could be in atlanta in 2012.
    there are no SS that are on the fast track to anything. mycal jones is having a decent year at myrtle beach but makes way too many errors for the majors (and he’s already 23). salcedo is atleast 3 years away and he’ll probably end up at 3rd.

  159. @214 – Was Muser known for breaking out the whipping stick when somebody crossed the line?

  160. 205- He probably will, but even if we disregard April, Gonzalez has twice as many XBH’s from May on than Yunel does ALL YEAR. Those help to score runs too, I think…

  161. @207 Sam, Sheffield was so young in Milwaukee, I kind of overlook those days. Everyone can’t be mature as J-Hey at 20. Even Griffey Jr. was a malcontent in his early years.

    It’s almost 5 o’clock and I have basically done no work. I might be traded to Toronto tomorrow.

  162. I think Yunel is pouting because he knew he was gone after next year anyway.

    Yeah, I’m sure that’s it.

    The saving grace here might be Omar Infante and if he can handle SS everyday after Gonzalez craters. He probably could, hopefully the team will be healthy enough that they won’t need him elsewhere.

  163. “Like the projections we all made on Troy Glaus and we were wrong.”

    I cited the zips projection in the 3rd post on this entry, not my own. Since you brought up Glaus, though, know that before this season zips projected for Glaus a line of

    .252/.358/.441 with a .356 wOBA.

    So far this year he is posting a line of

    .254/.361/.441 with a .354 wOBA.

    I feel pretty comfortable using this system to make my point: Gonzalez will in all likelihood be worse than Escobar during the second half.

  164. Here is what Sickels recently said about Pastornicky, the SS who came back in the deal:

    **Blue Jays shortstop prospect Tyler Pastornicky had a great game yesterday for High-A Dunedin, going 3-for-5 with a home run, driving in six teammates. On the season, he’s at .268/.356/.404 with 32 walks, 40 strikeouts, and 18 steals in 24 attempts in 228 at-bats. A fifth round pick in 2008 out of high school in Florida, Pastornicky is a fundamentally sound “baseball rat” type. Speed is his best tool, but he works counts decently, doesn’t strike out much, and is starting to show some gap power. I’m not sure what to make of his defense. Scouts consistently give him positive reviews, and he doesn’t make many errors, but his range factors are just as consistently below average, granted minor league glove stats can be weird. I think he can be a good utility guy at least, and if his bat develops further he might get beyond that. If he’d gone to college at Florida State, he’d probably be better-known nationally than he actually is.

    Link here: http://www.minorleagueball.com/2010/6/26/1538617/minor-league-notes-june-26-2010

  165. @218 Oh absolutely – he was quite the tough guy manager. He lost a ton of games, and said lots of tough things and there was no question that hustle was a requirement, not an option. He never finished better than 4th in a 5 team division. My favorite Muser quote of all time –

    “I’m not counting that. That’s not a combat walk; that’s a free pass. He has to catch the hand grenade and throw it back.”
    –Muser, when Mark Quinn drew an intentional walk for his seventh of the season

  166. The fact that I recognize the importance of team cohesion, especially in the middle infield, suddenly means I’m “Tony Muser?” Wow. You kids are over the f*cking rainbow, sometimes.

  167. Prado and Escobar never developed much of a “chemistry” turning two on the infield, for example.

    The Braves are third in baseball in double plays turned. I’m not giving much credit to stiff and immobile stylings of Glaus and Chipper.

    Yeah, having a couple of ground ball machines in the rotation helps but the middle infielders were making those turns happen.

  168. Sam, spike was smarting off to me, not you. I think a couple of earlier posts got slipped in and threw off the numbering.

    spike, WTF? The fact that I recognize the importance of team cohesion, especially in the middle infield, suddenly means I’m “Tony Muser?” Wow. You kids are over the f*cking rainbow, sometimes.

    ps – Thanks for explaining the Muser comparison. I wasn’t sure if I should be pleased or not!

  169. Now, the Braves need to start a fire at Turner Field before the game and then fall behind and have Gonzalez hit a home run to bring them back.

    I know–not the same situation. :)

  170. Get the fuck over yourself Sam, I was speaking to J K. and used quote numbers each time and they seem to have changed due to a deletion. You can’t just be a jerk all the time, and I agree with just about every thing you say.

  171. @Jeff – You (and you are certainly not alone) have this Bad News Bears fantasy that you can just show up in the MLB as a manager and “get tough” with these overpaid kids. Well you can’t. They are multi-million dollar irreplaceable assets and worth a shit-ton more to the bottom line than most managers that ever graced the field. In real life, Kelly Leake is a starter from day 1 and doesn’t ride the pine until his attitude improves. Failure to do so results in a ton of losses and your eventual dismissal. Guys like Bobby get away with the (very) occasional schooling of a player because they A: pick their spots, B: don’t do it to established stars ever, and C: spend every other waking moment talking about how great the player is.

  172. I’m kind of with Stu, one of the Alex R.’s and some others. I’ve learned to give Wren the benefit of the doubt. I hated the LaRoche trade last year as much as some of y’all seem to hate this one. It seemed to work out of the second half and he seemed to know that Glaus was a better fit long term than short.

    I also wouldn’t be surprised if some of the feelings about Yunel weren’t mutual. I know he supposedly didn’t get along with Blauser in Double AA. I went to a ton of those games that year. Probably the most games I went to in any year. Something never looked right with Yunel and I wonder how much of it was his failure to get along with Blauser. Its the reason I never expect much of him at the major league level (which he’s already proved me wrong.) I wonder if his struggles this year are that he doesn’t like playing for Bobby and the rest of the Braves.

    Which I guess leads me to this thought. If he has a good second half I wouldn’t jump to the conclusion that it would have happened in Atlanta. I’d more suspect that he’d continue his course here if he stayed. So for that reason alone it could have been the best plan.

    Or who knows he could have gotten better here or get worse in Canada.

  173. Okay, so I was playing along, but that’s just about the most fucking stupid thing I’ve had the displeasure to read on BJ. No fantasy here, I ask you to look at what just happened today. You may or may not agree with Frank Wren’s decision today; but it did happen, and it happened because of a player’s bad attitude. And thank goodness for that — it is one of the reasons that I feel I can be a Braves fan, and not just a fan of a bunch of guys who happen to be wearing a Braves uniform that day.

    I could list the several examples of it happening in the past under different management, but I think you know them well enough from what I’ve read of your other posts over the years.

  174. Adam M – zips is a useful tool, but Yunel is clearly under-performing any projection he had and you can’t blame it on luck. He’s not driving anything, so his past stats don’t mean much until he fixes his swing, his approach or something.

    But really, we didn’t trade Yunel because of performance. His sub-.300 slugging this year just gives us an excuse to rid ourselves of his attitude. So it goes. If you feel really bad about the trade, watch this video a couple times and you’ll cool down a bit: http://atlanta.braves.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=9836539

    And besides, the lefty reliever we picked up has a K/9 over 15. Looking forward to seeing him…

  175. I like how when spike references the hilarious internet video, he censors the f-word, yet when he’s typing original content, he lets slip whatever invective comes to mind.

  176. Wow, the “Around the Horn” morons (specifically, Bill Plaschke and Jay Mariotti) are throwing cold water on the all star game. Woody is sticking up for the game. I will, too. First NL win in 14 years, McCann’s the hero and the game actually MATTERS.

  177. A .690 OPS and a head-case out of our organization? And we get a shortstop with legitimate power? Pretty good deal to me.

  178. Get the fuck over yourself Sam

    Unlikely, mate.

    You can’t just be a jerk all the time, and I agree with just about every thing you say.

    It’s worked well enough so far.

  179. @236, that’s because, unlike when I was referencing the vid, my dander was up (which is pretty rare actually) and I apologize for that.

    /edit – specifically to Sam, JK and Mac.

  180. “But really, we didn’t trade Yunel because of performance. ”

    And therein lies the rub. This is a decision based on non-baseball matters, so to speak. It’s about personalities. Of course these things happen, and I agree with JC that sometimes you just have to say “enough is enough.” But that also suggests, implicitly, that if only on-the-field results were at play this trade would not have happened. To me, that sucks. It means that the Braves were ultimately willing to make a deal and/or take a risk they would not have taken solely for baseball reasons.

    And that’s why I’m disappointed. The team got worse.* Maybe it was a move that had to be done, but the team got worse.

    *Yes, this means I dispute the notion that clubhouse “chemistry,” of which there seems to be quite a lot this year, will help Chipper Jones better turn on a fastball or Derek Lowe to keep the ball in the park.

  181. And besides, the lefty reliever we picked up has a K/9 over 15.

    And he’s *LISTED* at 5’7″, which means he’s no more than 5’5″.

  182. Baseball-Reference has Alex Gonzalez’s nickname listed at “sea bass.” That’s either really lame or really cool.

    Also, his most similar hitter is Alex Gonzalez, which makes me wonder if sim scores have a “name” component.

  183. Buster Olney just said on Twitter, “tremendous trade for the Braves”. Take that for what you will but those of us defending the trade, at least have a fairly smart person agreeing with us.

  184. I don’t really understand the disgust. Yunel has been awful. Makes bad “on the field decisions” and has brought nothing to the table in ages. He costs the Braves all the time.

    We at least have some power in this. Play to win. Let Infante do the SS duties next year assuming we can make that happen. There has to be somebody out there at the SS position next year that wants to be in Atlanta.

  185. From Buster:

    This is an absolutely great trade for Atlanta. The Braves have one of the best clubhouses in baseball, and that Escobar was having problems says a whole lot about him; not many have problems with ATL.

  186. I’m one of those that kept hoping Yunel would grow up and get rid of his attitude issues. I didn’t mind his occasional gaffes on the field too much as I think his overall defense made up for it and then some.

    Even with this season’s power outage I wasn’t advocating benching, dfa’ing or trading him as superior defensive shortstops who can also hit (or at least once did hit) aren’t just floating around to be picked up for nothing.

    It’s quite obvious that there are some serious off the field/character issues for this to go down and you can’t just say “go out and get a top tier centerfielder for him then”. I’d be happy if Wren had been able to turn him into something more than a stopgap at shortstop and some marginal prospects, but if he could, he would have. For now we got someone who won’t be a defensive liability at short, which isn’t unimportant with Hudson and Lowe in the rotation, and who likely isn’t a head case.

  187. Buster “productive out” Olney is hardly someone I’d cite if I were looking to bolster my argument.

  188. And therein lies the rub. This is a decision based on non-baseball matters, so to speak. It’s about personalities. Of course these things happen, and I agree with JC that sometimes you just have to say “enough is enough.” But that also suggests, implicitly, that if only on-the-field results were at play this trade would not have happened. To me, that sucks. It means that the Braves were ultimately willing to make a deal and/or take a risk they would not have taken solely for baseball reasons.

    A few years ago I’d have been right here with you on this, actually. But a few years of watching, the Jeremy Giambi/Jon Mabry trade and a bit of chastening later, I’m less certain of exactly what we can know for certain *on the margins* of player skill and development. The numbers say this was a bad deal for Atlanta. But the people who are tasked with managing the team on a day to day basis say this was the best deal for the team. I think we have to give them the benefit of doubt on this one.

  189. Ben @ 245: If we want him back, Gonzalez is under contract (club option) for 2011, 2.5 mil (which isn’t that much more than Escobar would have been paid.)

  190. Well, Buster’s a super-nice guy, anyway.

    I’d like to trade for a right-handed outfield bat, now, please.

  191. Do personalities not play into baseball decisions? What world do you live in, Adam, where personalities bear no impact on the way you perform? Show me a work place where decisions are made like that, where synergy and team chemistry have no bearing. Aaaaand, he’s got a .690 OPS.

  192. Making a bad baseball move because a guy is a pain in the ass in the clubhouse seems really dumb to me. We all work with people we don’t like but we put up with it.

  193. Gonzalez had a .690 OPS or worse in 4 of his last 5 seasons coming into this year. Yunel’s disaster is Gonzalez’s normal year.

    Insisting upon getting a SS back in the same deal (if that was the case) reminds me of the “haul” we got back for Tex in a similar situation. Where would we have ever been without Kotchman? For starters, we couldn’t have put anyone else at 1B, so we would have never recorded any putouts on ground balls. Such a valuable addition.

    My guess is that we just locked in Yunel’s first half all-around production for the rest of the year (which is underrated due to his defense, so not a disaster). If there’s no physical reason for Yunel’s power drop, he’ll probably put up decent offensive numbers in the second half and be the more valuable SS.

    Odd stat on Gonzalez, he’s in his 12th year and he has never played an inning anywhere but SS.

    Agree with Stu that we need another bat/deal. I think another move is the only way it turns into addition by subtraction.

  194. So is this kind of like when all of the losers from New Jersey show up at the NFL Draft and boo every draft pick the Jets make?

  195. I know that very few of you care anything at all about Vanderbilt football, but this is a very nice tribute to him from VU’s director of media relations.

  196. @252: I’d say most work places make decisions based on performance, not the personalities of the employees. And judging performance on a sample size of 3 months is not a good idea. As others have pointed out, Escobar’s career ops is .771. Gonzalez is the one with an OPS in the 690s.

  197. Yunel Escobar has character issues. This isn’t exclusively about his lack of first half production, but that is certainly a part of it. Where do you think Milton Bradley gets traded almost every year? But he’s had 1.000 OPS seasons! Why do you think Boston traded a superstar in Manny Ramirez? But he was an MVP! We sit on the outside of the dugout steps and the clubhouse, and we forget that in every other industry, no one respects or likes to work with douche bags, and eventually even the talented find their way out of the door for those reasons. This isn’t new…

  198. Stu, not sure how you can possibly say nice things about Bobby Johnson right now. I am nto even a Vandy fan but the way Johnson just left out of the blue, 6 weeks before the start of the season, was bizarre and downright terrible for the program.

    There apparently was NO health issue and NO sex scandal and NO racist rant on video. He just said he was done. That’s perfectly OK…in December. He lied to his recruits that he added in February and even the recruits Vandy was getting verbals from for 2011.

    Now again, I’m a Georgia fan so this isn’t going to hit me the way it hits you, Stu, but wow, what Johnson did today was undeniably selfish & dishonest. If Richt had done that today, I’d be royally pissed and ripping him to shreds.

  199. Alex, let’s just say you’re too far away from the program to have any idea what’s going on. And, frankly, it’s foolish for you to assert dishonesty. He lied to absolutely no one.

  200. My issue is the timing of Johnson’s decision. Again, not one person would have a problem if he makes this decision in December. You can’t do this in mid July.

  201. And whether you realize it or not, I am actually sticking up for Vanderbilt, not attacking your school.

  202. Alex, seriously, you have no idea what you’re talking about. Johnson’s pitch to recruits, as far as he, personally, is concerned, was always that he wouldn’t coach anywhere but at Vanderbilt. And, it should be noted, none of the players or parents of players with whom I’m familiar feel betrayed.

  203. After reading all of that I am too worn out to look it up but my feeling is Yunel has hit into a lot of double plays this year. If Gonzalez is striking out then is that better than hitting into double plays? That would seem to be trading two outs for one which might be an improvement.

  204. My take is that it’s clear that management was tired of seeing Yunel in a Braves uniform every day, and nearly getting Glaus’ arm torn off was just the last straw. I doubt seriously they are expecting AGony’s on-field performance will be an upgrade from Yunel. It mostly just relieves the aggravation and frustration of having a malcontent space cadet around, with Infante as a back-up plan in case AGony turns back into a pumpkin.

  205. Both Yunel and Gonzalez have 9 GIDPs this year. I don’t think there’s any bright side from the performance aspect of the deal, unless Yunel’s power sap is permanent or unless Gonzalez has hit his peak when he should be hitting a decline. Gonzalez could perform better, especially if he’s cheaper than Yunel next year, but based on their careers, it’s not what you would expect.

    That’s not to say I hate trading Yunel. I just wish we had been able to either get value or get someone more likely to outproduce him. If we improve in CF or LF (though Hinske/Diaz seems solid), then this move is easier to take from the on-field performance standpoint.

  206. @269 I think at some point we have to realize Yunel is not going to change. When he doesn’t have the offensive numbers for us to justify his existence, there is no point of keeping him. The only reason why I think Wren did this now is because this is Bobby’s final season. Otherwise I think he would wait until this offseason. I am sure the fact that this is Bobby’s final season and we are in first place play a huge role in terms of when we want to trade Yunel.

    It’s not a terrible trade. We have done a lot worse before. I know some of you don’t like to concept of selling low, but we would never sell high because we would not trade Yunel when he plays well.

    At least we are getting a starting shortstop back and Omar does not become our starting shortstop!!! That would have been worse!!!

    In terms of outfield, I am hoping a healthy second half for Matty, Nate, and Jason. That will solve all the problems.

  207. @270 – “I just wish we had been able to either get value or get someone more likely to outproduce him”

    From what all of the naysayers around here say, they KNOW that not many SS’s would have outproduced Escobar for the second half of this season or the next few seasons. Going by that logic, who could the Braves have traded him for that would have made you happy? Hanley Ramirez?

  208. I wonder if the Braves scouts saw reasons behind Escobar’s power outage that made them feel he wasn’t going to get it back. If not, I don’t like this trade much. Bottom line is I think it will be a wash this year (and possibly a slight upgrade for Atlanta), but it will most likely be a net negative for Atlanta in the next few years. The lefty pitcher looks good, but lefty relievers seemed to be well stocked in the minors and Venters gives us a good foundation in the big leagues.

  209. “Do personalities not play into baseball decisions? What world do you live in, Adam, where personalities bear no impact on the way you perform? Show me a work place where decisions are made like that, where synergy and team chemistry have no bearing. Aaaaand, he’s got a .690 OPS.”

    I’ll say this again. My point is not that personality conflicts are irrelevant; it’s that–according to even those who are arguing for the trade–this trade doesn’t happen if performance is the only thing being measured. That is, based on performance alone, not to mention age and future roster construction, this is a bad trade. Only those who argue that clubhouse chemistry directly improves team performance–I guess you’re one of them–can possibly argue this is the best thing for the team in baseball terms.

    But I’m not one of them. I have worked in various places and dealing with different personalities is part of any job. It certainly doesn’t affect performance. In baseball, this is a particularly odd argument, because the Braves’ problems are not abstract but specific (as any team’s issues are). They need better production out of CF; they need more power from the right side of the plate; they need their LF platoon to perform better overall in the second half, especially at the plate; they need to get luckier with guys on base. What “synergy” and “team chemistry” have to do with that I have no idea. Maybe something, but any heavy emphasis on it is ridiculous.

    To be clear, I’m not sitting in my armchair saying this trade is insane and should never have happened. I sit in an armchair, after all, and don’t know the issues of the clubhouse. By all accounts, Yunel Escobar seems to have been a problem, and he seems to have been a problem for a long time. My argument is more of a lament: that without his being a social “problem” this would never have happened, and that would ultimately be much, much better for the Braves.

  210. Figured you SABR dorks(used lovingly) would hate this trade. Unfortunately SABR doesn’t win games. The entire organization hated that fairy’s guts, he was a cancer and they eradicated a cancer. Trading Suckcouer for crap worked out pretty well this season I’d say.

    Hell, even if Gonzalez tanks, it will be better than babysitting that infant for the rest of the season.

    Not many 5-7 155 lb pitchers have ever been worth much, though.

    If anything if not addition by subtraction, it’s at least a net neutral, and who knows, maybe A Gon will continue at least hitting bombs.

  211. After thinking for a bit, my take is that it’s not a disaster for this team, but at the same time, it looks a bit like a wasted asset. Were these really the top two prospects the Jays were willing to give up?

  212. Think about this, you are trading for a guy hitting .240 with 0 HR and 350 ABs that is a complete and utter turd.

    What team do YOU think was going to give us a stud SS in return and “A” prospects for THAT?

  213. From seeing what Wren said, it certainly seems like he doesn’t care if Yunel will turn it around in Toronto. He just wants to get rid of him while getting a decent replacement in return.

    @276 It’s not only about personalities and personality conflicts, it’s about he is not being liked by his bosses. No matter where we are, that’s not going to work. Besides, we have been putting up with a lot of stupid on-field decisions by Yunel the past years. So it’s not purely off-field matters we are talking about.

  214. What’s done is done. I think Gonzalez is awful, and like spike I expect him to regress almost immediately, but I’ll be rooting for him like everyone else. C’est la vie.

  215. @281 Exactly. We have to be realistic here. We are giving up two enigmas, who on earth would give us premium prospects? Yunel is only cheap for this season. He would be making more money than Alex Gonzo (another Gonzo!) next year.

  216. .291/.368/.403 #1 defensive SS for .248/.294/.402

    I think Wrens comments about making the team better are more to do with their frustrations. They know Alex isnt an upgrade, but its another veteran who will probably fit in better with the guys. Yunel seems to be an outcast that no one wanted around, esp Bobby

  217. having a guy that slugs 284 will prohibit your ability to win.

    And yet say that about Gregor Blanco and watch people jump on you.

  218. We got 2 prospects in the deal. Doing a straight-up comparison of Yunel vs Gonzalez is a stupid way to analyze this trade.

  219. “I don’t like the Cubs,” Votto said. “And I’m not going to pat anybody with a Cubs uniform on the back. But because he made that really cool play, it turned out to be a really cool experience. I’m really glad we got the win today.” …Joey Votto

  220. 293 – true, but you can compare the two when Wren says it makes us better in the second half….I hope he’s right, he’s not an idiot

  221. I’m amused by the coincidence of the Peanuts special on TV tonight, “Yunel Must Be Traded, Charlie Brown.”

    Seriously, I don’t think this is a bad deal because we got a couple of propsects who might turn into something in exchange for two players we’ve probably seen the best of. I just figure three months of AGony is the cost of doing business.

  222. I wonder if the Braves scouts saw reasons behind Escobar’s power outage that made them feel he wasn’t going to get it back. If not, I don’t like this trade much.

    Toronto is hitting home runs by the bushel this season. If there was a perfect place for Yunel to go to find his power swing, that’s it.

    I think Gonzalez is awful, and like spike I expect him to regress almost immediately, but I’ll be rooting for him like everyone else.

    It’ll be tough for me to root for him. I hate watching braindead hacker types like this. That’s maybe the biggest reason I’m so fond of this team – quality, smart at bats one through eight. I’ll be hoping Infante takes his starting job by August.

  223. @293. I love Collin’s K rate as much as the next guy, and I really hope he succeeds – but really, it’s a long shot…have you seen a photo of him yet?

  224. Uh, didn’t we just trade for someone that has more homeruns than anyone on our team?

    And can play a really good shortstop?

    And is not the biggest asshole on the team?

    Not a Wren cheerleader by any means, but I sure like this one.

    Stu – what reason are they giving for Bobby’s resignation? Seems odd timing to me. Hope he’s ok.

  225. Spend a day in meetings & miss out on all the fun…

    Good baseball move? Tough to buy that.

    Run your team this way? Fine by me.

    Real-life baseball players are not APBA cards and real-life teams aren’t APBA folders. We don’t really know what goes on in the day-to-day with MLB clubs. You don’t really know; I don’t really know.

    But I’d guess that Yunel was probably way worse to deal with than we’ll ever imagine. (At least, I have to believe that.)

    The Tough Part: As much as Yunel made me nuts—and it was a lot, actually—I always knew he could save an inning or a game with a big play in the field that nobody else (on our team) could make. Certainly not Infante.

    And there was a time, certainly before this year, when he was the guy I wanted at the plate with the game on the line.

    Reminds me a little bit of Garry Templeton, a talented, but often careless & certainly obstinate SS when he came up with the Cardinals.

    But he pushed Whitey Herzog over the edge to the point that the White Rat physically threw him into the dugout once & then shipped his ass off to San Diego.

    Of course, I wish we had gotten an Ozzie Smith in return today.

    It’s done. Let’s win with the new guy.

  226. No one said that, David, but there hasn’t been many at 5-7 in the modern era that were worth a hoot.

  227. ububba, that’s funny — Templeton was the first guy I thought of, too. He’s a cautionary note for anyone who thinks attitude and performance are separate issues. After a while, one can bleed over into the other.

  228. Well, so did his first-baseman.

    And the Busch family, being in a different kind of drug business, didn’t take too kindly and sent him to the Mets for Neil Allen.

  229. I’ll trade Yunel’s sometime brilliance for the bullshit that seemed to come with it. If indeed addition by subtraction, I would like to see another move to shore up what would have been an offensive liability even if we kept Escobar. Either SS or LF/CF needs to start producing since Chipper isn’t retiring tomorrow. Not certain that Gonzalez will really change the situation on the field, but he may help bolster an already happy clubhouse, if one believes the various accounts.

  230. From SI’s Jon Heyman (via Twitter):

    “bobby cox has to be thrilled to be rid of underachieving space cadet yunel escobar. alex gonzalez is a nice early going away gift for cox.”

  231. LOL @255. That’s pretty much exactly what’s going on here. And I don’t mean to imply that everyone here is a loser, and certainly not that anyone in here is from New Jersey…just the the general principle is the same. As diehard fans of the Atlanta Braves, we tend to overvalue our own players. So it would take something that would never happen for a lot of people to be happy with this trade, because they overvalue Yunel Escobar to such an extent that it would be virtually impossible to get “decent value” for him.

    In reality, we probably did get decent value for him. And in reality, it’s entirely possible that Yunel’s attitude will completely torpedo his career. But people on this site just don’t see it that way. They’ve seen a glimpse of what Yunel Escobar could do if he weren’t such a chronic goof-off.

    This, in general, is why pretty much every trade on here gets blasted. We think too highly of our guys and too lowly of everybody else, generally speaking.

  232. Also, I think Collins is the key player here, not Gonzalez. It’s not at all clear that Gonzalez is a better player than Infante, or that he’ll even hold the job through the season, should he even remain healthy (which has been a problem for him the last several years). But Collins might be something good. And the other guy, Pastorini or whatever his name is, might have just been mishandled by the Blue Jays — who have not exactly been a talent factory in recent years. He certainly has physical ability, and the Braves need minor league infield depth.

  233. I second that, Mac. I’ve heard several Baseball analysts call him a young Billy Wagner. I’d be thrilled to add a young Billy Wagner since the old Billy Wagner is about to retire.

  234. Also, I don’t know why anyone would believe that Yunel was anything less than a first-rate jackass. There have been a lot of qualifiers today (“If the rumors of his jackassery are true”, that sort of thing), and it could be that people are just hesitant to comment on something they don’t know for certain, but it’s very clear that Escobar was an unmitigated pain in the ass of the highest order. It wasn’t just that he was misunderstood or there was a language barrier or whatever else. He was a jackass. And to believe otherwise is to be sticking your head in the sand, frankly.

  235. I don’t know about that, Alex. He doesn’t throw quite as hard as Wagner, he’s even shorter, and Wagner was a starter in the minor leagues, not a reliever. (Wagner never made a relief appearance in the minors until some rehab outings in mid-career, and has never made a start in the majors.) Starters get a lot more work in and most elite relievers — not all, but most — were starters for at least half of their minor league careers.

  236. He *lists* at 5-7. That’s with the obligatory 2-inch media guide padding.

  237. Incidentally, my opinions on this matter are pretty well perfectly summed up by what Marchman wrote (link @ 273).

  238. @276
    “….dealing with different personalities is part of any job. It certainly doesn’t affect performance.”

    If that’s true, how many great rock bands would still be together.

    Let’s just say Yunel’s lazy throw to Glaus=Yoko Ono.

  239. so now we have a young RH and LH Billy Wagner less than a year away….not to mention Venters

  240. Does anyone know anything about Collins’ pitching repertoire?

    Never mind — I found this: http://tinyurl.com/29zgc36

    Collins’ velocity already has increased by about 4-5 mph – now up to about 93 mph – since signing with the Blue Jays. A sharp curveball and a work-in-progress change-up complement his powerful fastball.

    Signore said with Collins’ ability, it’s like the Blue Jays landed a first-round draft pick.

    “He’s got great arm speed,” Signore said. “And he’s able to throw downhill, which sounds odd because I think he’s only 5-5. … Timmy’s right over the top – the same torso tilt as Koufax – so the delivery’s very reminiscent, and the ball comes out straight over the top and it does go downhill.”

  241. Are we pretty sure that Alex Gonzalez is good with the glove? I think this trade will end up hurting us long term but I can cope a little better if I can at least expect Gonzalez to not be a huge drop off in the field. We certainly can’t afford to become an even worse fielding club.

  242. @322 Yeah, he doesn’t throw as hard as Venters or Wag. Sounds like another O’Flaherty to me. Remember we have Dunn waiting in line in Gwinnett.

  243. I think the Braves got tired of Escobar’s BS and this was the best return they could get for him.

    We didn’t fleece the Jays by any reach of the mind, but we got some pop to add to our lineup and it was something we really needed.

    In Wren I trust.


    Sorry about Johnson. Class act. I felt he was one of the best coaches in the SEC.

  244. “….dealing with different personalities is part of any job. It certainly doesn’t affect performance.”

    What an incredibly naive statement. I may very well be one of the younger people on this board, and even I know that. Adam, same question as Spiral Stair, what do you do for a living? Whatever it is, I want in.

    There are a lot of douche bags in Major League Baseball. According to our boy Hudson, we traded a boatload of talent to Texas for one. But Yunel Escobar doesn’t hit like Mark Teixeira, and when you’re pulling muscles hopping around, dropping fly balls, making base-running mistakes, leaving your first baseman out to dry, and don’t get along with your leadership, you’re going to go. Wren’s done pretty well so far, and I have confidence that this is addition by subtraction.

  245. Not sure if you guys saw it, but Frank Wren announced the trade on ESPN News with Roy Firestone hosting. It was called, “The Trade” and there were 3 other possible destinations for Yunel. Wren said the $$ made in the program went to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Atlanta and five bored kids sat in the background.

  246. @327

    And Wren didn’t even bother to tell Escobar before the show that he had been traded.

  247. Rob,

    The worst part was the angry response Yunel had. He even used Times New Roman font. It was embarrassing.

  248. @328: I think that’s how you make a Tim Collins. But a Collins glass is too tall, so make sure you use a lowball glass.

  249. Bud Selig fined Yunel for going over the top. Said that Toronto would win the World Series before Atlanta did. Oh, and burned his Braves’ jersey.

  250. I’m fine with the trade…for now.

    I can understand and appreciate getting a vet for the 2nd half at a position where there was 1) no offense…and 2) a lame brain play every other week.

    Do I like this trade in 5 years? Maybe not. But this trade was for the here and now. And I can appreciate that.

  251. In fact my barber told me that Wren wrote Escobar a letter:

    Dear Yunny,

    Your crazy jumping, constant pouting, refusal to learn English and what ever the hell you have done to your hair, has earned you a trip to Canada.


    P.S. If you don’t like English, they speak some French there.

  252. #332


    That’s awesome. By the way, my friend posted this as the line of the night at the ESPYs (which is a good thing since I’m not actually watching that abomination):

    (Seth Myers) “Hey Cheer Up Cleveland. Look at the bright side…every team that has won an NBA championship thus far has done it without Lebron James”

  253. #334

    Smitty, I do think the frosted tips were the killer for me. He could have been hitting .330 this year with 15 homers and I would have hated looking at him with frosted tips.

  254. It’s amazing how good you feel about not liking someone now that they don’t play for your team.

  255. Mac, did you ever add ‘The Llama’ for Derek Lowe?


    Rob, so true. I look forward to further hating Melky once his ugly mug is wearing a different uniform.

  256. Yunel is one of the better all-around shortstops in the bigs, top 10 easy. At least until this year. Alex Gonzalez isn’t (at least until this year) (but probably still not). I don’t really think Braves fans in general overstate Yunel’s value, and I think it’s just as easy to say that some fans let their opinions of his character negatively color their opinions of his ability.

    I guess there is disagreement about what this year’s struggles should mean to his value, and also what his attitude problems do to his value (perhaps would hurt the value less if the Braves didn’t broadcast them so often). And then you can get into trade value vs. value to the team, and at what level of return you should walk away from the trade and just deal with the headaches.

    It’s possible that the Braves decided to trade Yunel at any cost, and I guess there’s not really much room to argue that as an outsider.

    Also, if the scouts/staff thought that Yunel wouldn’t be able to regain his offensive form, at least in 2010, then it does make sense to deal him. Again, no way to judge that for the average fan.

    If neither of those apply, I still think the deal is a little misguided (ignoring the prospects we’re getting, but we’re trying to win now, so…). Yunel could easily match Gonzalez offensively in the second half if there’s no concrete reason for his power outage, and he’s a little better defensively. Also, Gonzalez’s games played total reads 159 in 2004, then 130, 111, 110, 0 in 2008, 112, and 85 so far this year. And we seemed to do OK with Yunel as a part of the clubhouse during the first half.

    I think I’d have preferred standing pat unless Yunel caught fire before the deadline and we could have found something better. Again, that’s without inside knowledge of the clubhouse or without knowing if there is a serious flaw in Yunel’s offensive game.

  257. This move reminds me of the Jay Cutler trade in the NFL. Cutler was clearly very talented, big arm, a smart Vandy guy and all, but he threw a lot of INT’s, came off as an ass and had that awful whiny looking pucker. The Broncos received, in return some draft picks and some guy named Kyle Orton to play QB. Orton was a short term replacement, a guy who wouldn’t win many games for ya, but he wouldn’t kill you either.

    The Braves made this move outside the prism of age, slash lines, and ability. They simply grew tired of Yunel’s act, and shipped him off for someone who could fill the SS role competenetly until their Tebow descended upon them.

  258. I blame spike’s frequent reference of the endless debate internet video for my new ironic use of “It’s f*cking logic” in normal conversation.

  259. I normally don’t write stuff, but the negative comments on this trade have ticked me off. I’ll give you reasons on why this trade was or could be good for us.

    1) Defensive play.
    This is the issue everyone seems to love Yunel for. Yunel has a cannon arm, close to Furcal’s. Yes, his arm is great, but his head is not. Yunel has a lot better range than he has shown in the past because he does not keep his head in the game. All shortstops have the tendency to rush some throws or not rush other throws like they should, but Yunel makes these bone-headed plays for other reasons. The man is just plain lazy on the field. I don’t see Yunel rush too many plays. He’ll get to them in his own time. The man does not give 100% in the field throughout an entire game EVER.

    Yunel has sucked this year… I am having a hard time believing that this group of Braves fans who completely trashed Jeff Francoeur (for good reason) would throw this big a fit over Yunel who actually has a lower ops this year (.618) than Jeff did before we traded him (.634). In fact, Jeff never posted an OPS lower than Yunel this year. On top of his performance and his lack of power (Luke Hughes and Carlos Maldonado, and Jeremy Reed all have more homers), Yunel does not give 100% effort hitting or on the base paths. How many times have you seen him “jog” to first on a ground out? Truth is, Yunel showed potential his rookie campaign, regressed his sophomore year, then hit better in this third year, but not as well than in his rookie campaign, then sucked in the fourth year. Hmmmm, who else did that? JEFF!!! and most all of you crucified him every single day and I completely agreed with you then. Why the inconsistency? Look at the hitting stats. Same type years as Jeff and he’s still Satan and Yunel is a hero. And that has nothing to do with his influence on the club! (Yunel’s ops is only slightly better than Jeff’s every year. See it for yourself.)

    3) Personality/clubhouse
    Name me five Braves who think Yunel is a good club house player. Truth is, we don’t hear much about that until after they are gone. (I had no idea how bad Soriano was until he was gone.) Yet we do know and have known about Yunel being a bad clubhouse player for a long time. This is the closest I have ever seen the Braves. They all play with and for each other, except Yunel (and maybe Glaus). Yunel is constantly put in his place by Bobby (!), is rude to fans, reporters, and his team mates, and it shows. You remember the play last week when he almost broke Glaus’ arm? I thought Glaus was going to kill him. I bet every one of the Braves players are happy he is gone. We will be a closer knit team with Gonzales (who has never been known to be a bad club house player).

    I love this journal, look at it every day, but am upset at the inconsistency of this topic.

    I would have been happy if we traded Escobar for Rafael Belliard (now, at age 49) and a ham sandwich. (and Bobby agrees with me) I’m just glad we got someone.

  260. If Collins were ever to become the closer… what should his walk out music be?

    I’m not high on the trade, but I’m pumped for the potential Collins era.

    Can he and Spud Webb do some endorsements together?

  261. Time to “win now”.

    Bobby, Chipper, Hudson, Wags.

    I’m okay with this trade. I expect Alex Gonzo to outperform Yunel in the 2nd half.

    And that is what will give this team an advantage. Despite what Yunel will do later.

  262. @347 I guess most of us are not used to the fast trigger. It usually takes the Braves at least a year before we get rid of a player like Yunel. However, this year is a little different.

  263. Speaking of that spike video, does anyone know whether the (hilariously British) stats guy is claiming to have a “big-idea brain” or a “big idea-brain”?

  264. Shelby, I don’t completely disagree with you about the trade, but I do disagree with you that Yunel Escobar and Jeff Francoeur have been similar offensive players over the course of their careers. While Francoeur has an edge in slugging, Yunel has a significant edge in OBP, which makes him the superior offensive player overall. For example, Yunel’s career OPS+ is 105, while Jeff’s is 92; Yunel’s career wOBA is .342, while Jeff’s is .318. Moreover, Yunel is doing it as a shortstop, a position at which the offensive norm is far lower. So Yunel’s a much better hitter at a position where there are many fewer good hitters.

    The same logic applies to Alex Gonzalez, of course. He’s a worse hitter than Francoeur — career OPS+ of 81 and wOBA of .299 — but at a position where the offensive norm is far worse.

  265. The Braves currently have the best record in the NL this year with their (former) starting shortstop hitting .238/.334/.284 with no homeruns.

    Even if Alex Gonzalez does regress, it is hard to imagine him doing worse than Escobar has so far this season. The Braves have done well to this point with nothing on offense from shortstop; it appears up is the only direction to go here.

  266. #360
    More than Francoeur trade day, huh? Guess there wasn’t that much debate–just a lotta hallelujahs.

    And, of course, Yunel has always been a hot topic for discussion.

    Nonetheless, congrats to Mac (and everyone else).

  267. @360-

    I was just about to ask.

    It’s weird how divergent the opinions are. I guess it’s just another classic SABR vs. “old school” thing. If you put a lot of stock in team chemistry, if you aren’t convinced that these guys will regress to their career norms, it’s easy to look at it favorably. But if you think chemistry isn’t nearly as important as its often given credit for, and if you’re convinced that Escobar will hit .300 the rest of the way while Gonzalez doesn’t even OBP that (and, let’s face it, he hasn’t even managed that thus far!), you probably see it as a horrible move. And clearly Escobar’s a very polarizing player.

    Edit: that made me think of something. We should figure out a way to make a bet of some kind on whether Escobar’s BA is better the rest of the way than Gonzalez’s OBP. :-)

  268. I would feel bad if I didn’t comment on the most visited day in recorded Braves Journal history.

    It is very interesting the differing opinions on here today. I think going off of mraver’s point, that is is even more basic than ‘old school vs SABR.’ I think it very much boils down to how much you think ‘chemistry’ has to due with success in a team sport. If you’re ‘old school’ or somewhere in-between, you probably tend to believe that it matters or is of somewhat importance. If you’re a Sabermetrician, hardcore or aspiring or somewhere in-between, you don’t see ‘chemistry’ show up anywhere in the box scores, so you minimize it’s importance, and probably tend to believe that winning is what makes good chemistry.

    I tend to minimize the importance of chemistry, but I will say after Yunel nearly got Glaus killed the other day, you could see that somebody wasn’t going to put up with it for much longer.

    FW obviously believes that Yunel won’t turn it around in the second half and figures Gonzalez won’t be worse than Yunel was in the first half and won’t kill the defense. I have seen mentioned in many places that Yunel will be arbitration eligible after the season, but if he didn’t turn things around in the second half, I bet he would have gotten non-tendered. The Braves don’t seem like they would have been willing to go to arbitration, lose, and then try and trade Yunel in the off-season, coming of a horrible season. The prospects the Braves got back from Toronto are likely better than the prospects (Human White Flag equivalents) they would have received in that scenario.

    There are only so many moves you can make with this roster to improve it this season, and clearly FW thinks Alex Gonzalez is going to have a better second half that Yunel, and I think that’s all he was trying to accomplish here.

  269. Also, over on Drunk Jays fans, you have to love a post with this in the description “Meanwhile, in Atlanta, Yunel Escobar was coming off his best season as the Braves starting shortstop in just his third full year in the big leagues. There wasn’t a chance in fuck that the Braves would’ve even considered signing Gonzalez, who was more available than your sister on prom night (see the team friendly contract he signed with the Jays: $2.75 million this season, and a $2.5 million team option for next year), to start over Escobar. Yet, flash forward to four or so months later, and that’s exactly what they’ve chosen to do.”

  270. For what it’s worth:

    While I cannot say with any certainty what impact Yunel’s departure will have on the Braves’ clubhouse, or whether that impact will matter on the field, I can definitively state that in the real world, your co-worker’s opinions of you DO matter w/r/t keeping your job. To my discredit, I have been in Yunel’s shoes.

    I’m a huge introvert and at work, I do not seem to be able to help make other people better. I prefer to be left alone and do my job, interacting with others as little as possible. And, I am utterly without tact in stating my opinions when compelled to do so. Co-workers ultimately end up either working with me grudgingly, or avoiding me altogether if possible. This approach has cost me two jobs- been told that straight to my face. Not my performance, just my inability to be “part of the team.”

    While I don’t mean to defend Yunel, I can say that this behavior is difficult to change. I’m sure it can be done and there are no excuses for failing to do so, but it isn’t something where you can simply tell yourself that you’ll change your ways and magically that happens. Plus, once you’ve put yourself in that position (again, it’s your fault you’ve ended up there) it’s tough to come back- people tend to seek out examples that confirm their existing impressions of you, and those impressions are deservedly unfavorable.

    So to close, if something like what I have described is what happened here, then I believe that the Braves did the right thing. It’s got to be easier to do your job when you aren’t dealing with a co-worker like me, and in a sport like baseball where mindset is an important factor, it isn’t hard to envision a scenario where players perform better because they are in a better frame of mind.

    Just my two cents, and mainly I just wanted to contribute to Mac’s traffic here- love this site and the passion of all y’all Braves fans!

  271. I just keep reminding myself that Wren has actually done pretty well so far and HOPE he keeps up that trend. Though I guess we did give up on KJ too… and he’s panning out OK elsewhere (not that we had a spot for him, but still). The thing that’s going to help me feel better about this deal is October baseball.

  272. I imagine there weren’t many offers for KJ since he played his way onto the bench.

  273. Peter may have a point with Jed Lowrie…we might want to get in on that before the Tigers, Giants or Cardinals do.

  274. I have sort of changed my opinion on this trade since yesterday. I don’t think much of the idea of team chemistry; most teams, I’m sure, have some problematic personalities. We don’t even know if the players dislike Yunel (as opposed to disliking the way he goes about his business). But it’s not about personality, it’s about professionalism. As in every profession, you can be an asshole and still be professional. Yunel is not professional and I think that’s the real issue here, not whether or not his teammates like him. From a pure baseball standpoint, this is probably not a good trade. But, the Braves have been known for a certain professionalism in their approach. One thing professionalism means in baseball is not potentially getting your own players hurt because of your stupidity and not seeming to have your mind in the ether during games. Initially, I thought this was bad in the long-run because Alex Gonzalez was not that good and he is much older. But, as JC said, at some point, you can’t keep tolerating Yunel’s behavior (not his personality) on the basis that he is talented. First, while he is good, I don’t think anyone is projectign him for the Hall of Fame. It’s not like the Braves will never be able to find another good shortstop. Second, to say it’s not a performance issue is not true; his attitude and lack of professionalism does affect his performance–maybe not every game, but enough to be significant. He nearly lost that Mets game with his misplay of the pop up and nearly got one of their key players hurt with his throw. Physical errors are one thing, but you can’t tolerate those kinds of mental errors over and over.

    It certainly is possible that Yunel could turn his career around and end up being a very good player and this could end up looking like a bad trade. And, I really don’t have a lot of confidence in Gonzalez. We have all had problems with Bobby Cox over the years in terms of his in-game strategy and bullpen management. But I trust him in terms of how to handle players and when it’s time to cut bait. I don’t think he discards players just because he doesn’t like them. If he thought it was time for Yunel to go, I will give him the benefit of the doubt (because I’m sure he had a LOT of input into the decision). And the fact that he was willing to get rid of Yunel in his last year managing says to me that Bobby really thinks they will be a better team without Yunel.

  275. @367, I had never seen that Jays blog. Just looking at the last few posts on this trade, it looks like a pretty bright group of posters and commenters.

    This trade looks even worse this morning, though, despite what Keith Law says. Forget that we’re giving up future value. This a position downgrade for the rest of the season. The future value loss (three arb years from a 27 year old vs. 1 good option year from a 33 year old) just makes this worse. Law’s analysis is a little flawed, and, besides him, I haven’t seen any other member of the commentariat who love this trade give any good reasons.

  276. Good points Marc. I still worry about what it will mean for the team for the next few years… but should trust Bobby & Wren to know their guys. Pennants and rings would quell my fears about the next couple years.

  277. Again, I’ll side with most Baseball writers, who are much closer to day to day team stuff than us fans are. Here’s a nice summary in Jeff Schultz’s column of the various Baseball and Toronto writers, who all agree the Braves got the better end of the deal and improved:


    Marc, we usually never agree so this is not a surprise, but I don’t understand HOW you can so easily dismiss clubhouse chemistry? And let’s not simplify this that Escobar was some quiet guy who didn’t join his teammates for a beer. Escobar was viewed by Cox, Chipper, Hudson on down as a clubhouse cancer.

    They all thought this of him last year, but it was tolerated because of his numbers. He’s now a .240 hitter with zero home runs and a 27 yr old with frosted hair tips. He’s a moron. Good riddance. He wasn’t helping the lineup anyway. Alex Gonzalez may not hit in the 2nd half what he hit in the first half but at worst, he’s no worse in the lineup than Escobar was and he will actually hit an occassional home run.

    Oh, and even if he has a bad day at the plate, at least Gonzalez will be out there with a 100% effort.

  278. I know it’s not the same thing to compare kids to adult professionals, but I have seen my son play on teams where there were several players who did not get along with other team mates and I have seen him on teams where everyone was good friends and the end result was always better performance when everyone was friends. On little league teams where there are kids who don’t get along that is always a negative distraction… in the dug out, in the field, at practices and during games. OTOH, when everyone is friendly, they pick each other up, they have fun, they are more relaxed and perform better because of it. “Team Chemistry” may not mean anything in MLB but I have observed its effect in little league and I think anyone on here who has played little league recently or had a son who played would tend to agree with me. Since (in my opinion) it definitely exists in little league, I have a hard time disregarding the possibility that it has some meaning in MLB.

  279. @379 When you put it that way, frosting tips sounds like something Andruw would have ordered at the Gold Club.

    Count it.

  280. Im surprised by the reactions in favor of the trade from Olney and Law. Looking at the numbers you’d think Yunel has been a little unlucky. However, watching almost every game we get to see nothing but weak grounders and lazy fly balls. I dont know if he’s making changes to his swing/approach, but mark me down as very skeptical about him performing well offensively in the 2nd half. I really dont care now

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