Hot Stove Thoughts

The Winter Meetings will come to an end today, and so will many (but not all) crazy trade rumors. While many are unhappy with the trade the Braves made with the Cubs, I am quite pleased. Think about it this way: the Braves needed a lefty reliever and a utility infielder. They got both (Will Ohman and Omar Infante) for an unproven power reliever with chronic back problems (Jose Ascanio). The only need the Braves have yet to fill is for a “stopgap” centerfielder–someone to man CF while top prospect Jordan Schaeffer continues to develop in the minors. That need is not even a crucial need, as the Braves could plug in Schaeffer (albeit maybe a little too early) or use Gregor Blanco or Josh Anderson (recently acquired in a trade with the Astros). As it stands today, here is the most probable lineup for the Braves:

Kelly Johnson
Yunel Escobar
Chipper Jones
Mark Teixiera
Jeff Francoeur
Brian McCann
Brandon Jones
Anderson/Blanco/Schaeffer

Not too shabby…with Andruw out of the lineup, that removes roughly 374 strikeouts and a .003 BA with RISP, which is nice. With a rotation that could shape up as Smoltz, Hudson, Glavine, James, Hampton/Bennett/Jurrjens, you’ve got to feel pretty good about the pitching as well. So, all in all, I’m quite pleased. There is still a chance that Chuck James (the next Glavine or the next Charlie Puleo, depending on who you ask) could be traded for an established CF. Depending on who we’d get back in return, I would probably be unhappy with that–I think James was thrust into a position of high responsibility (3rd in the rotation) wayyyyyyy too early, and asked to win important games. Stick him in that 4th or 5th slot, and let him develop. Then we’ll see.

Johann Santana

It would seem to me that the Tigers’ blockbuster trade for Cabrera and Willis changes the landscape for any possible deal for Santana. If I’m the Twins, and a team in my division just got that much stronger, I’d have to throw in the towel at this point. Cleveland already has a very potent team (that has already relegated Minnesota to at least Wild Card status), and now with Detroit becoming world beaters, there’s absolutely no hope for Minnesota.

So, if I were the Twins, I’d realize that we’re not going to be able to compete this year, so why would we hold onto Santana anyway? Let’s trade him and build for the future. I also don’t agree that, as I heard Steve Phillips say on ESPN last night, Santana is roughly equal to Cabrera/Willis, and therefore shouldn’t be worth in the neighborhood of 6 prospects. Cabrera’s a stud–we all know that, and Willis is a classic “change of scenery” guy. It had to be extremely difficult to pitch in Florida with a horrible defense behind you and 350 fans in the ballpark…oh, and no chance of winning with that lineup. Put him in Detroit with an already above-average rotation and a MONSTER lineup, and see what he does.

Back to the Twins–let me make one thing clear: I don’t think the Twins are Devil Ray-esque (it’ll always be “Devil Rays” to me!). It’s not like they don’t have any talent. They have a former MVP and batting champ in their lineup, and a great closer (who is on the trading block, however). But that division is stacked with Cleveland and Detroit at the top, and that relegates Minny to “outside looking in” status. So trade Santana, and trade him now.

–ASF

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3 Comments

Filed under General Atlanta Sports

3 responses to “Hot Stove Thoughts

  1. Jeff

    Any reason you’re not figuring that we’ll put Willie Harris in CF, at least until Schaeffer is ready for the bigtime?

    Really looks like the pitching is coming together nicely, and I agree that taking some pressure off James by putting him in the 4 slot should help.

    I love it that Andruw went to the open market thinking he was going to get 5yrs and a ton of cash and came out with 2! Who was he kidding? He came into the season in the best shape of his life, looking to put up career numbers to set himself up for the long haul, and failed miserably. Thank God we were smart enough to not deal with him.

    I agree that Minnesota has to dump Johan and try to build for the future. They’re not going to be able to re-sign him anyhow, so I would think that Minny would be willing to give up a few wins now for some prospects that could help them out down the road.

  2. atlantasportsfan

    Jeff–the Braves dropped Willie from their 40-man roster after making the deal with the Cubs, meaning other teams can sign him. What I’m hearing is no one else will sign him, and the Braves may decide to invite him to spring training.

    Willie was a fan favorite, and had a spectacular May/June, but he S-T-U-N-K after that. His numbers in the second half of the season were terrible…something like a BA in the low .200s with very little SB. His 6-hit game was sandwiched by a couple months of bad hitting…which, unfortunately for him, is representative of how his career has gone.

    I’m with you–I would love to put him in if he could duplicate that May/June tear, but his career numbers say he won’t.

    I also agree with you on Andruw–now (of course, with 20/20 hindsight) I wish we would’ve dealt him at the ’06 trade deadline–I seem to remember some kind of trade rumors with the White Sox for a couple of guys…Garland and someone else, maybe? Oh well…

  3. Jeff

    Interesting. Didn’t know they dropped him. I hadn’t really looked at his career numbers until now, and didn’t realize that was the trend.

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