Jan 24, 2013, 2:10 PM EST
- As some probably guessed, I’m a big fan of this deal for the Braves. I wrote an entry trying to pair the Upton brothers in Atlanta before the Braves had B.J. signed.
That said, I would have liked this deal a bit more two months ago, when the Braves would have had more flexibility to deal with the losses of Prado and Delgado. I still think it’s a great value trade, and I expect that the competitive Upton brothers could push one another to new heights. Prado is a very good player right now, but he was under control for just one more year and I don’t think he’ll live up to his next contract. I’ve never seen Delgado as much more than a No. 4 starter. None of the prospects are elite talents. I’m surprised the Diamondbacks didn’t insist on right-hander J.R. Graham in the deal.
- As for the Diamondbacks, well, there’s really been no plan from the beginning. They’ve now parted with two terrific young talents in Upton and Trevor Bauer and still haven’t set themselves up as obvious contenders for 2013.
Here’s a possible lineup:
Still, this is a team without a definite All-Star and it’s going up against a Dodgers club full of them and the defending world champs in San Francisco. Towers did add some nice minor league depth today, but he’s still given away arguably his two top talents and inflated the payroll, all for an 85-win, third-place team.
- The Diamondbacks just keep backing themselves into corners. It’s what forced them to trade Upton. And now it’s going to force them to give Prado a big extension, since there’s no way they’re going to let the key piece in the deal leave after one year.
Prado has hit .300 and topped a .350 OBP in three of his four full seasons in the bigs. I’ll be curious to see whether his terrific 69/58 K/BB ratio from last season holds up or if he reverts to previous form (86/40 K/BB in 2010, 52/34 in 129 games in 2011). A quality walk total will make the difference between him being an above average regular or an overpriced mediocrity in those seasons in which he hits .280 or so. And he will have those seasons after turning 30. The Diamondbacks are probably going to have to give him $30 million-$36 million for three seasons, and I have my doubts he’ll prove worth it.
A Prado extension would also cut off prospect Matt Davidson’s current path to the majors, though I don’t really see that as a problem. He projects better in left field than third base anyway. And if the Diamondbacks did want to leave him at third base, they could put Prado back in left field in 2014.
- This trade does leave the Braves lineup in a bit of a weird place. Prado was their only great option to bat first or second this season. Right now, we might be looking at:
With McCann set to miss at least the first few weeks following shoulder surgery, the third baseman will likely bat seventh, putting Gerald Laird in the eighth spot.
This arrangement will work out just fine if Simmons builds on his .289/.335/.416 line from his rookie campaign. I’m not sure the Braves can count on that, though.
And then there’s B.J. Upton, whose OPS went from .331 in 2011 to .298 last year. If he comes back in at .330 or so, he’d be an asset at the top of the order. If not, he’s a problem.
The Braves could always drop either Simmons or B.J. and simply move everyone else up a spot. I’d be good with Heyward batting second and Justin hitting third. I’m guessing that’s not how Fredi Gonzalez will want to play it, though.
- At third base, the current play should be to play Francisco versus righties and Johnson versus lefties. Johnson will get a chance to win the starting job outright, but I’m not a fan at all. He’s a poor defender, and while he does have pop, I doubt he’ll hit .281 again.
One potential problem with the platoon: the right-handed-hitting Johnson has actually performed much better against righties (.283/.323/.452 in 896 AB) than lefties (.255/.294/.372) in his career. Still, I think Francisco will outhit him against righties.
- Now that the Braves have question marks at the back of the rotation and at third base, they should be in contact with some free agents. Roy Oswalt and Javier Vazquez would make tons of sense as the new fifth starter. Vazquez would likely come cheaper, and Atlanta is about as close as he can get to his home in Puerto Rico. Of course, he pitched for the Braves in 2009 and went 15-10 with a 2.87 ERA. Some other inexpensive possibilities: Carlos Zambrano, Carl Pavano, Kevin Millwood, Freddy Garcia and Chris Young.
For third base, it makes plenty of sense to check in with Scott Rolen and see if he has any interest in a part-time role. I’d take him over Johnson to pair with Francisco. And I know this won’t be very popular, but it’s worth offering Chone Figgins a minor league contract. The smart money says he’s done as a useful player at 35, but if he does have something left, he’d be a pretty great fit on a team with little speed, no obvious leadoff man and no plus defensive third basemen.
Dec 10, 2013, 2:20 PM EST
There were two eye-opening bits of news here in this story about Mark Prior retiring. 1. I honestly thought he retired five years ago. 2. Mark Prior is still only 33 years old. The second of those bits is even more shocking than the first. He is STILL only 33? If Mark Prior had stayed…
Dec 10, 2013, 1:54 PM EST
The Denver Post’s Troy Renck and FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal are reporting that the Rockies and A’s have restarted talks regarding left-hander Brett Anderson. The Rockies have also been pursuing Reds reliever Sean Marshall as they attempt to bolster their pitching staff. As things stand right now, the Rockies are likely looking at a rotation of…
Dec 10, 2013, 1:31 PM EST
Curtis Granderson was just formally introduced as the newest New York Met. And, having just left the employ of the New York Yankees, lobbed a bomb that you know the tabloids are going to run with like crazy: “A lot of people have told me real New Yorkers are Mets fans” Granderson is smart and…
Dec 10, 2013, 1:25 PM EST
2:25 p.m. EST update: FOXSports.com’s Jon Morosi says the three-team trade is close to being finalized. 1:25 p.m. EST update: MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez hears that the three-team deal is “getting pretty close” and that Howie Kendrick is not involved. /// ESPN.com’s Keith Law hears the White Sox are now part of the trade talks designed…
Dec 10, 2013, 12:50 PM EST
At some point the Mariners will presumably want to add a high-priced closer to their increasingly expensive roster and Jon Morosi of FOXSports.com reports that Seattle is interested in former Rays closer Fernando Rodney. Morosi notes that Rodney knows new Mariners manager Llloyd McClendon from their time together with the Tigers, although back then Rodney…
Dec 10, 2013, 12:28 PM EST
Posted by his wife, Ashley, to twitter, with the caption “Awkward family photo.”
Dec 10, 2013, 12:10 PM EST
The Juan Uribe market is sizzling, it seems. Enrique Rojas reports that the Dodgers and White Sox are “pushing hard” for him. Ken Rosenthal reports that the Marlins are interested as well. And why not? Uribe is coming off a pretty darn good 2013, posting a .769 OPS in 426 plate appearances while playing an excellent…
Dec 10, 2013, 11:51 AM EST
Tony Jackson has covered baseball for two decades, including gigs as the Dodgers beat reporter for the Los Angeles Daily News and ESPN Los Angeles, but now he’s hanging up the keyboard after a brief run as an independent blogger: After all these years, I simply have had my fill of covering baseball. I used…
Dec 10, 2013, 11:30 AM EST
The Diamondbacks seem determined to get a bat, and it’s apparently going to be either Mark Trumbo or Shin-Soo Choo. It sounds like, for their own good, it had better be Choo. Jon Heyman reports that they are currently considering trading Trevor Cahill and Tyler Skaggs to the Angels for Trumbo. Which, really, seems like an…
Dec 10, 2013, 11:19 AM EST
There’s been surprisingly few teams linked to Ubaldo Jimenez and Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer did some digging to figure out why. He turned down a one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offer and any team signing him would be giving up a draft pick to do so. According to Hoynes the Indians “have remained…
Dec 10, 2013, 11:06 AM EST
The Baseball Writers Association of America held its annual meeting this morning and admitted three new members to its ranks. They are: Grantland/ESPN’s Jonah Keri, Yahoo!’s Dave Brown and ESPN’s David Schoenfield. All three are deserving, hard-working baseball writers. All three are also top representatives of online baseball media. It’s very good, both for them and,…
Dec 10, 2013, 10:57 AM EST
Greg Johns of MLB.com is reporting that Jason Bay could sign with the Yomiuri Giants of Japan’s Central League. Bay — who appears to be more than done as a major leaguer — was released by the Mariners in August after he hit a mere .204/.298/.393 over 236 plate appearances in 2013. He’s 35. Personally…
Dec 10, 2013, 10:47 AM EST
Add another name to the list, as Carrie Muskat of MLB.com reports that Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro is getting into The Best Shape Of His Life: The Cubs are making sure shortstop Starlin Castro reports to Spring Training in better shape. The team assigned strength and conditioning coach Tim Buss to the Dominican Republic to…
Dec 10, 2013, 10:30 AM EST
The Baseball Writers Association of America has named Roger Angell of the New Yorker as the 2014 winner of the J.G. Taylor Spink Award. He will be honored by the Baseball Hall of Fame during the induction ceremonies in Cooperstown next July. The Spink Award is given for “meritorious contributions to baseball writing.” And Angell certainly…
Dec 10, 2013, 10:15 AM EST
It sounds like Baltimore has zeroed in on its preferred Jim Johnson replacement, as Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Orioles are “trying to get a deal done” with former A’s closer Grant Balfour. Balfour didn’t get a chance to be a closer until age 33, but he’s saved 62 games with a 2.56…
Dec 10, 2013, 9:52 AM EST
It’s been a long time coming — and was mostly agreed to a couple of days ago — but Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that MLB and NPB have an agreement in place on a new posting system that now only requires ratification by baseball’s executive council. That approval is expected. The…
Dec 10, 2013, 9:45 AM EST
Reported yesterday that he was being viewed by more teams as a “Plan B” trade target, the A’s are reportedly now thinking of not shopping Brett Anderson. Jeff Passan: Sources: Teams believe A’s have cooled on idea of trading Brett Anderson this week. May still go eventually. Just not close to a guarantee. — Jeff…
Dec 10, 2013, 9:21 AM EST
If someone — anyone — has a clue what the Phillies’ grand plan is, I’d love to hear it. I’m sure anyone would: The Phillies have indicated to other teams they are ready and willing to talk about Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels in trades. — Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) December 10, 2013 I suppose that…
Dec 10, 2013, 9:00 AM EST
UPDATE: Looks like the deal is done: two years with the Tigers, reports Ben Nicholson-Smith. The details are unknown. 9AM: Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Tigers are the frontrunners for Rajai Davis. Since, according to Smith, Davis is expected to sign quickly, it would appear that he’s crossing the Ambassador Bridge and heading for Motown. Davis…
Dec 10, 2013, 8:29 AM EST
Every year we get a report that Mark Prior is working out, hoping to make a major league comeback after years of injuries. No more. Andrew Simon of MLB.com reports that the former Cubs phenom is calling it quits: After a series of injuries and several comeback attempts, it appears Mark Prior is ready to…
- Curtis Granderson: “A lot of people have told me real New Yorkers are Mets fans” 29
- The Phillies have told teams they’d trade Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels 53
- Mark Prior’s retirement reminds us that young pitchers will break your heart 24
- Roy Halladay is retiring 54
- Tony La Russa Bobby Cox, Joe Torre all unanimously elected to the Hall of Fame 50
- Robinson Cano agrees to $240 million deal with Mariners (260)
- Yankees agree to seven-year, $153M contract with free agent outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury (160)
- Report: Mariners willing to offer Robinson Cano a 10-year, $240 million deal (143)
- Report: Yankees have agreed to a three-year deal with Carlos Beltran (125)
- Brett Gardner is drawing “significant” trade interest (112)