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The Braves trade Yunel Escobar to the Jays for Alex Gonzalez

Jul 14, 2010, 12:22 PM EDT

The Braves have finally had enough of Yunel Escobar

It’s actually a five player deal.  In addition to Escobar, the Blue Jays get pitcher Jo Jo Reyes.  Coming back to Atlanta with Gonzalez are minor leaguers Tim Collins and Tyler Pastronicky.

We’ve talked about Escobar recently. The Braves have long been sour on him, and the sense is that Bobby Cox and others in the organization don’t much care for his demeanor, effort and the cut of his gib.  He’s a talented player, and has shown great ability with his bat and his glove at times in the past, but he is prone to simply disappearing on both sides of the ball for weeks on end. 2010 has been something of a disaster for him all around: no power, no on base skills and multiple fielding lapses.

Gonzalez is currently hitting .259/.296/.497. Lots of pop there — 17 homers so far — but the OBP is (a) terrible; and (b) almost exactly in keeping with his historical standards.  The homers are flukely; he’s never hit more than 23 in a season before, and that was several years ago.  He has a reputation as a great glove man, but that was based on work he did years ago. I don’t watch him much, but from what I can tell he’s now merely an adequate shortstop. Which, to be fair, is better than Escobar is when he’s in one of his increasingly frequent funks.

I’m going to take some time to investigate the minor leaguers here, but given that the Braves’ throw-in is Jo Jo “I’m basically worthless” Reyes, I’m going to assume that Collins and Pastronicky are no great shakes. UPDATE: as noted in the comments, Tim Collins looks interesting. Awesome K/IP ratio and WHIP in 194 minor league relief innings.  Maybe there’s more to this deal from Atlanta’s perspective than meets the eye.

First impression of the deal: I think the Braves are selling low on Escobar and that he’s quite capable of putting up some great numbers at some point. It would have been nice to see him do it in a Braves uniform, but if I’ve learned anything from watching this team over the past 25 years, I’ve learned that when they lose confidence in someone, they are 100% certain to ship them out, so waiting for him to rebound was never in the cards.  Basically, the Braves have opted for likely unimpressive but nonetheless stable play of Gonzalez at shortstop over the the bi-polar stylings of Escobar.

Say what you will, but it’s a move totally in keeping with the Braves’ organizational philosophy.

  1. Chris Fiorentino - Jul 14, 2010 at 12:28 PM

    The Braves sold too low on Escobar and bought too high on Gonzalez. They will rue this trade come the end of the year and they are 5 games out of first place and watching the playoffs. This was a win for the Blue Jays…whether it becomes a BIG WIN depends on how well Escobar pans out.

  2. teamhunt - Jul 14, 2010 at 12:36 PM

    Collins looks like he might be a stud. 20 years old in AA and he is destroying the Eastern League – 73 K in 43 IP with a 2.51 ERA. He’s only 5’7, so he’s going to have to overcome that in the eyes of the evaluators, but with those numbers, he must be doing something extremely right.

  3. Jonny5 - Jul 14, 2010 at 12:36 PM

    Somewhere a 69 year old man with bad knees is smiling ear to ear. It wasn’t the way he played that got him traded, it was the way he could have played all the time that got him traded. Imagine if an entire team just gave partial effort? That stuff is contagious. Off topic: Here’s something the Old man with bad knees had to say about old George S. http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20100713&content_id=12237036&vkey=news_mlb&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb

  4. nps6724 - Jul 14, 2010 at 12:43 PM

    Unless Gonzo continues crushing, the Bravos got screwed. Esco was only hitting .238 (with an extremely low BABIP) but still had an OBP 100 points higher. Gonzo’s OBP is below .300! Esco’s defense is better and he’s younger so hopefully those prospects pan out.

  5. dra - Jul 14, 2010 at 12:59 PM

    Braves clearly looking to win it all this year in bobby and chipper’s swan song. Willing to sell low, buy high and try to get three decent months outta AG…if they win this year, all worth it

  6. Chris Fiorentino - Jul 14, 2010 at 1:04 PM

    Tim Collins makes Tim Lincecum look like Mark Texiera. I’m sorry, but a guy who is 5’7″ can’t pitch in the big leagues today. I am probably completely off base here, and somebody is going to jump all over this, but there can’t possibly be a 5’7″ PITCHER doing well in today’s game…right? I mean…Jimmy Rollins is 5’8″ and he looks like a dwarf when he stands next to Ryan Howard and Jimmy Werth in the hi-5 line after a win. And he’s a SS, not a pitcher.

  7. Abe V. - Jul 14, 2010 at 1:22 PM

    Danny Herrera of the Reds is 5′ 6″ and he’s been fairly decent:
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/h/herreda01.shtml

  8. Proudly Canadian - Jul 14, 2010 at 2:02 PM

    Gonzalez has been great with the glove this year. The home runs have been a surprise, but the Jays have hit a lot of them this year. Nobody knows how well Collins will do against the “big boys”. It should be interesting.Pastronicky should eventually become a decent back up infielder.

  9. JBerardi - Jul 14, 2010 at 2:08 PM

    AA ball isn’t THAT far away from the majors. If he’s striking guys out at that rate there, I wouldn’t bet against the guy.

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