I don’t like it

Braves get Reitsma, send Bong to Reds

He overpaid. The Braves sent not only Bong, but also Bubba Nelson, to Cincinnati for Chris Reitsma? Is this some sort of karmic thing, where Scheurholz has to make a bad deal for every good deal? Does he own stock in the Reds or something? Bong and a minor prospect for Reitsma is one thing, but Bong and your top starting prospect?

On top of that, by trading Pratt and Bong on consecutive days, the Braves have no lefty depth left, leaving them with Almanza and Nitkowski only.

Reitsma’s a pretty good pitcher. The 4.29 ERA is a little skewed because of some bad starts. As a reliever, his ERA was 3.51. (On the other hand, he didn’t get hurt by his ballpark — he was actually far worse on the road.) That being said, he might be better off as a starter, long term.

23 thoughts on “I don’t like it”

  1. According to the release on the official Braves site, Reitsma was voted the Reds’ Most Outstanding Pitcher in 2003 … which is akin to being named World’s Tallest Dwarf or Times Square’s Richest Vagrant …

    After dealing Nelson, Wainwright, Pratt and Bong since last season, the Braves have now unloaded their four of their top five young pitchers. Macay McBride’s gonna be lonely …

  2. Pingback: Reds Daily
  3. Yuck. As much as I liked the Cruz deal, I absolutely hate this move. They must think they’ve struck gold with Nitkowski or something. I didn’t think Nelson would amount to much, but I thought Bong could have been something. Now it looks like his best case scenario is the Dennys Reyes career path.

  4. Reitsma has some talent, but this may not be a good deal. Don’t trust guys named Bubba.

    Bong is not that great.

    Reitsma may surprise.

  5. Not to be the voice of doom or anything, but the Braves have traded for two closer candidates in two days. Does this mean that Smoltz is hurting?

    I know they’ve been saying all spring that John’s fine, but they said the same thing last year, right up until the day they put him on the DL. Let’s hope I’m reading the wrong thing into all this…

  6. An interesting line of thought, Creg. An alternative thought is just that the bullpen was looking to simply reek in the 7th and 8th innings, and JS finally grasped why we’ve been calling the guy Alfonsucka all winter.

  7. Yes, JS overpaid the Reds again (Belisle for six weeks of Mercker); I think that the decision to invest in Alfonsucka is starting to pay its dividends. At least Reitsma is a real upgrade.

  8. Great point Stephen, we’re building the Reds’ future rotation. This sucks, I’ve been an optimist all along and I think the major league team is a little better now than it was two days ago… but the Reitsma trade was unessesary. Will Cunnane will be put on waivers now. Is Reitsma that much better than Cunnane? Man this sucks! We basically cut two good prospects… this makes no sense!

  9. Yeah, I’m looking at these trades as pretty good. As far as I can tell, both of these guys (Reitsma and Cruz) are gonna step in right away into the bullpen, and be better than what we had been slotting in for the season (Alfonseca, ??) to bring us to Smoltz.

    As others have pointed out, they could both also be insurance should Smoltz go on the DL at any time. But if not, I think we’re looking at a potentially pretty good Bullpen. I think we all could be happy with Cunnane, Cruz, Reitsma and Smoltz holding down leads late.

    I like the fact that it looks like we’re planning for the present. Both of these guys are young — it’s not like Mercker where we know he’s only gonna contribute for a matter of months. Both Cruz and Reitsma could potentially be productive Braves for a long time. And even though Pratt and Nelson (and Belisle and Wainwright) might have great futures ahead of them in the majors, they just aren’t as ready for the spotlight as the guys we got for them.

    We’ve won 12 divisions in a row. Yes, that has to end sometime. But why not try to go for another one by improving the major league team instead of counting on the prospects to keep us afloat? It’s not like we’re completely mortgaging the future. As others have pointed out, these guys wouldn’t all have been successful Braves. There’s just not enough room. It’s a gamble to let go of guys who have “upside”, but we’ve got a stocked, promising young pitching staff as it is.

  10. On the other hand… Anyone hear from Rob Bell lately?

    JS says they might make another deal yet. And he’s talking about dipping into the system to make it again. I don’t think mortgaging the future to win one more division is a very good idea. I’m not sure that’s what they’ve done; Cruz and Reitsma are better prospects than anyone they’ve given up.

    If they send Cunnane through waivers to keep Gryboski, knowing that it’s unlikely he’s going to able to pitch much or effectively (not that he’s ever that good) that will be a major mistake.

  11. I agree that I don’t think we have mortgaged our future. Having a great farm system is good for more than just developing players for the future, it also helps to fill in the needs of now through trades. As previously mentioned, the guys we got are young, so there’s no reason they can’t be around for a long time.

  12. Remember, folks, there is no such thing as a pitching prospect! Trading young talent is always a gamble, but who knows where Bubba Nelson is going to be in 2 years? Schuerholtz has traded so many young players away, and hardly anybody has ever had a career that really hurt afterwards. I trust the man, and I trust Leo. What happended to Chen, McGlinchy, Rocker?
    Let Leo work his magic on Cruz and Reitsma, and good things will happen. Definitely like the trades!

  13. Amen. I posted on Brad’s site (No Pepper) too, but I like this deal. Though we tend to forget it, the only young pitchers to leave Atlanta and succeed recently are Schmidt and Odalis – Schmidt several years later, and Perez is still apparently a headcase. There are GMs in baseball who refuse to trade for Braves pitching prospects because they’re so afraid of Schuerholtz. I can’t wait to see how Reitsma does with a real pitching coach.

  14. I can’t say yet that I’m totally positive about the trade, but I’m cautiously optimistic. It seems to me that the Braves are responding to what happened to them in the playoffs last year–that is, they were bounced by a staff filled with hard-throwers. So, I think they are now trying bring in power pitchers who can solve their present bullpen problems and possibly give them a power staff in the future. In the AJC, Bobby Cox points out that both Cruz and Reitsma have been starters. “Who knows what may happen next year,” he hints. This is all completely consistent with his praise for Capellan and the move to bring in Alfonseca, which unfortunately looks like a disaster at this point.

  15. Didn’t see the game, but Juan Cruz apparently got torched by the Mets for three runs in two innings today. I know spring training doesn’t really mean that much, but this was not exactly an auspicious debut…

  16. A lot of that was bad defense in right. There were a couple bloops/ check swing hits, too.

  17. FWIW, a couple of the insider types over on Fanhome are saying that the Braves aren’t done even yet. The specific rumor is Danny Kolb for Betemit and Trey Hodges.

  18. Danny Kolb? Ugh. Guy has one good half-season, and suddenly he’s worth Trey Hodges and Wilson Betemit? How many righthanded relievers does one team need?

  19. Yeah, I’d much rather see them pick up Mike Crudale, who was released by the Brewers last week. He’s probably just as good as Kolb and won’t cost much of anything …

  20. While it’s true that there’s no such thing as a pitching prospect, I think that the yey to developing future prospects is strength in numbers. Individually, none of JS’s trades of young pitching this offseason bothers me; however, the sheer volume of pitching talent shipped out – from Wainright in the Drew trade up to the recent moves – concerns me more.

  21. Chris Reitsma posted a 2.85 ERA in his last 47 appearances of the season after being moved from the starting rotation to the bullpen. In his last 35 appearances, his ERA dropped to 1.65. He was one of the best relief pitchers in baseball. The guy has a mid 90s fastball and a filthy change up. What’s not to like?

    Bubba Nelson was a sinker ball pitcher who the Braves did not think would ever crack their starting rotation. They were projecting him to their bullpen over the long term.

    Matt Belisle was brought up here. He was recently optioned by the Reds, so he will spending yet another season in the minors. I really doubt Belisle ever makes it to the majors.

  22. Colin scribbled:

    While it’s true that there’s no such thing as a pitching prospect, I think that the yey to developing future prospects is strength in numbers. Individually, none of JS’s trades of young pitching this offseason bothers me; however, the sheer volume of pitching talent shipped out – from Wainright in the Drew trade up to the recent moves – concerns me more.

    I think in terms of contributions to the major league club, the only loss worth mentioning in this round of trades is Adam Wainwright, and he was turned into J.D. Drew, a move I can’t help but like. There was more of a hole in the 2004 RF than there is likely to be in the 2005-6 rotation, IMHO.

    The other guys simply were not going to be contributors in Atlanta. While Bong, Pratt and Nelson were solid prospects middle relief and/or 4/5 starters, they were not going to break into the rotation any time soon. None of those three were going to displace one of Hampton/Ortiz/Thomson/Ramirez this year, and only Ortiz is not signed through 2005 as well. So what you have to decide is “are these guys good enough to hold onto, at the expense of today, because of their future potential?”

    I think the obvious answer to all three is “no.” By the time any of those guys would be pushing a rotation position in Atlanta the younger guys below them would be pushing for the same position. In the meantime, Gary Mathews Jr. would be playing RF every day. So you flip them for needed parts (Drew) and guys more likely to help immediately than they (Cruz, Reitsma.)

    In short, none of these guys are Mark Prior, or even Edwin Jackson. Wainwright came the closest, and he was turned into (by far) the most valuable return. All of these trades have, IMHO, made the 2004 team stronger at minimal loss to the future.

    s/

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