Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas musings...

I was up this morning looking for a blog topic when I saw the Joel Sherman tweet about the Yankees being close to acquiring Javy Vazquez. I was figuring the Braves would be getting Nick Swisher + prospects in the deal and was pretty excited about the potential deal. Alas, the news turned sour when it become apparent the deal was for Melky Cabrera, a swap of bootleg lefties, and a 19 year old pitcher 3+ years from the bigs.

Why the timing of this trade? I understand for NY they felt a need to match the Lackey move the Sox made, but what is our hurry? It was known that Lowe was being dangled and if there was no market for him, why rush into trading Javy? I feel the Braves could have received more for a guy that is a lock for 200+ innings and 12+ wins.

Here is a quick breakdown of the players the Braves received:

Melky Cabrera - .274-13-68 in 154 games last year
Mike Dunn - LHP with good slider that should make big league club
Aloyds Vizcaino - Flame throwing 19 year old Dominican with big time stuff - think Neftali Feliz

But, now that the deal is done, what does this mean for the team? First, according to David O'Brien, the Braves will pay none of Javy's 11.5 million this year. So, one would think that this would allow some payroll flexibility to go after a first baseman at this point. Assuming the budget for the 2010 payroll is similar to 2009 at 95 million, here is where the team stands as of now.

Lowe - 15
Chipper - 13
Hudson - 9
Kawakami - 6.67
Wagner - 6.75
McCann - 5.5
McLouth - 4.5
Saito - 3.2
Diaz - 2.55
Infante - 2.25
Ross - 1.6


Cabrera - 2.5
Moylan .75
Jurrjens - .5
Escobar - .5
Prado - .5
Medlen - .5
O'Flaherty - .5
Hernandez - .5
Hanson - .5
Chavez - .5
Dunn - .5
Thurston - .5
Heyward - .5

That comes out to about 78 million, so there appears to be some room to maneuver before spring training. But what I still can't figure out the reason for this salary dump. Now, the starting rotation, bullpen, outfield, catcher, SS, 3B, 2B, UI, all are set. The only position of need is first base and there are not any better alternatives than simply bringing back LaRoche at a 3 year deal worth about 25-30 million. But, if that is the case, why not trade Lowe and eat some of the contract and still be at your 95 million dollar budget and still have Vazquez?

I find it hard to imagine that Wren will just sign LaRoche, have a payroll of about 85-87 million, and not use all of his available funds. Hopefully, the payroll flexibility created with this trade will allow the Braves to take on a contract of a good player without giving up much. Or, allow for a mid-season acquisition of some sort.

As of now, here is where the team stands...

SP - Hudson
SP - Jurrjens
SP - Hanson
SP - Lowe
SP - Kawakami

RP - Saito
RP - Chavez
RP - Dunn
RP - O'Flaherty
RP - Moylan
RP - Medlen
CL - Wagner

C - McCann
C - Ross
1B - N/A
2B - Prado
SS - Escobar
3B - Jones
UI - Thurston
UI - Infante
UI - Hernandez
OF - McLouth
OF - Cabrera
OF - Diaz
OF - Heyward

I do not think this is a playoff team at this point even with LaRoche. Lets get to work, Frankie Boy...


William Satterwhite said...

Unless this is setting up a possible Adrian Gonzalez trade or something similar, this is a really bad trade. Cabrera is really nothing more than a functional player, the kind of guy teams like the Pirates and Royals should be trading AAAA-caliber pitchers for, not the kind of guy you trade an amazingly durable top notch pitcher for. He's essentially Ryan Church with less pop and better defense. I understand that the market for Vazquez was somewhat restricted (no West Coast teams because of his no-trade, no Mets or Phillies for obvious reasons) but I have a hard time believing Wren couldn't have held out for more than this.

Jeff said...

Pitchers that go for 200 innings+ and consistently win 12+ games are hard to come by. Outfielders that hit .270 with 13 homers are not...