What do you think the Indians would have to throw in with Millwood to get Estrada? Scheurholz looked like a genius as Johnny, given the job (over the shouts of many members of the sabermetric community and national press, who thought Eli Marrero would take it) helped keep the Braves afloat while the outfield was injured, made the All-Star team, and wound up the season with a .314/.378/.450 line. This came as a surprise to many, but actually it’s pretty much what he did in Richmond in 2003 and just a shade better than he did in Scranton in 2001-02. He may actually be a .300 hitter, which when you add in doubles power (36 last season) and a few walks is pretty darned valuable.
On the other hand, if he can’t hit near .300, he’s a drag on the team, because he only hit nine homers and is painfully slow (no stolen bases or triples in his major league career, or in the minors since 2000) and his defense looked pretty shoddy. Interestingly, he wasn’t charged with a passed ball last season, despite seemingly having trouble blocking the plate. I guess everything was called a wild pitch.
While I was going to say he got off to a hot start and then cooled, that’s not quite accurate. He got off to a hot start and kept it up through August, hitting over .300 in every month, albeit with a little more power early in the season. He collapsed in September, which isn’t surprising since he’d never played nearly as much, and the climate in Atlanta isn’t what he was used to in the International League. It would help if the Braves had a reasonable backup, but… Hit much better on the road (.351/407/.498) than at home (.274/.348/.399) and much better as a lefty (.329/.401/.469) than a righty (.272/.311/.400). As I’ve said all along, he needs to be platooned, and the difference between him as a righthander and Eddie Perez isn’t that great — though Estrada is still better — especially since Eddie can’t throw anymore.