Braves get Infantile

Cubs trade IF Infante to Braves – MLB – Yahoo! Sports

Anyway, Jose Ascanio out, Will Ohman and Omar Infante in. Ohman is a pure LOOGY, last year appearing in 56 games but for only 36 1/3 innings. His ERA was a hefty 4.95, but that can be deceiving in a pitcher who rarely throws whole innings. Born in Germany, but considering that it was Frankfurt and his middle name is “McDaniel” he’s surely an American military brat.

Infante looked like a player in 2004, when at 22 he hit .264 with 16 homers and 27 doubles. But his power, and his playing time, have dried up since then, and the last two years he’s hit in the .270s but with little secondary offense. Plays all over the infield, will back up short and possibly second for the Braves. Never actually played for the Cubs, coming over for Jacque Jones in a postseason trade. He’s not Chris Woodward, which is faint but definite praise.

125 thoughts on “Braves get Infantile”

  1. Infante sounds like a good pick up. And we are fairly bursting to seams with RH relievers with control issues.
    Anyone know who got DFA-ed to make room?

  2. I guess that takes care of a couple of things that Bobby would want, another lefty in the bullpen, and a veteran utility infielder that Bobby’s so fond of . I think it’s a pretty good trade.

  3. Hopefully Harris will be DFA-ed.

    Ohman’s home/road splits are encouraging – over the last 3 seasons his numbers outside Wrigly have been excellent:

    1.62 ERA, 81/26 K/BB ratio in 78 IP.

  4. Smitty raises a horrifying thought at the end of the previous thread:

    I bet Bobby Cox is in a corner crying about that, but then again try to figure away to platoon Infante with KJ.

    I honestly don’t even know how to react to this. It’s possible.

  5. No problem with the trade. It addresses a backup need & brings a lefty RP. Ohman, Mahay, Gonzalez—looks OK to me.

    BTW, I’m fairly certain that Ohman is a military kid, an Army brat, I’m guessing. He & I were probably born in the same hospital—Frankfurt am Main.

    And yes, no matter how well he pitches, we’ll see plenty of “Oh, man!” or “Oh, man…” posts.

  6. FWIW, ububba, Mahay isn’t likely to be a Brave next year. It’ll probably be Ohman, Ring, Gonzalez.

  7. ummmmm….people are calling Ohman an ass who pisses off his teammates and his coaches abd brass.

    that’ll last for about 2 minutes with the Braves.

  8. Come on, we know that if Infante can hit lefties, Bobby’s going to platoon him with Kelly.

    I think Infante backs up Yunel. Prado is the guy who can be stealing ABs from KJ.
    I am guessing the Braves are not expecting much from Aybar

  9. I agree with Hate King, we all know Bobby will platoon Infante with Aybar with KJ riding the pine….its completely logical.

  10. Wow, Stu quoted me!

    Imfante will get to play a ton, and we all know it. I bet he plays in these cases:

    -When Chipper takes his yearly sabbatical around mid-May

    -On Sundays for Escobar.

    -KJ goes into one of his funks where he goes 4-32 sometime in July and then Infante will play a lot.Then KJ gets hot again, but Bobby thinks it is because of the platoon.

    -To pinch bunt twice a week.

  11. I remember hearing that Will Ohman has had problems with his teammates before. I’ll try to find information.

  12. keep in mind the state of the Cubs pen last year – Ohman was going to be the odd man out this year from what Cubs fans are reporting. Not good, esp if he is a clubhouse problem

  13. 2B platoon – Aybar/Infante
    LF platoon – Diaz/KJ

    What’s not to like?

    (Insert sarcasm smiley HERE)

  14. Isn’t Aybar a switch hitter? I know all these platoon things are jokes (please God let them be jokes) but I thought I’d mention that anyway …

  15. no way KJ goes back to the OF, Wren already stated that they thought they had a top notch 2B. I wonder why Bobby doesnt see it that way

  16. Will Ohman was the Cubs’ player representative at one point. He also alienated himself from teammates because he blamed other people for his demotion to AAA-Iowa. Don’t really know what to make of him.

  17. Am I the only one that thought Ascanio showed some nice flashes this year? I don’t like the deal. Throws low to mid 90’s, young, cheap, a 71:18 K:BB ratio in Mississippi last year until we called him up the majors out of desperate need because our pen was killing us. And we give him away for a role-playing middle infielder, a forgettable LOOGY rumored to have bad personality, and an extra 3 mil in payroll?
    This seems like a poor deal to me.

  18. If we were going to take on 3 mil in payroll to make the team better and use Ascanio to do that, I think Ascanio and another player could have gotten us Chad Cordero (if we want him), which I think does more for us than this deal. So unless we really are planning on using Ohman to flip to the pirates to get someone like McLouth, this deal doesn’t make sense to me. Also: Lillibridge should be backing up the infield, with Prado if needed. I don’t get this deal.

  19. I can see them flipping Ohman to Pitt. Is Ohman the one that makes the money in this deal?

  20. I think they both make about the same. Ohman is under contract for $1.6 million, and Infante’s salary will depend on his arbitration award, which is expected to be in the viscinity of $1.5 million.

  21. This is why I never get excited about the supposed “extra” payroll that we have at our disposal. Because instead of going out an making one big move a getting a good player, we’ll just make a bunch of moves like this for players that may or may not be useful. $3 million and a young, cheap player for a LOOGY and a nothing infielder. Win now mode sucks.

  22. AAR,
    Yup, both my parents were in the Army. (Back then, the gals were called WACs, as in Women’s Army Corps.) They met at Ft. Leavenworth.

    And, no, I didn’t regret the sunny climes of Los Angeles this weekend. I missed the snow.

    Hit me up in the spring. Maybe we’ll hit a Braves/Mets tilt, either that or an old-man bar in Manhattan…

  23. Ohman is not a bad pitcher. He had his worst season in ’07, but claimed that he was injured and not cared for properly by the Cubs’ medical staff. While it seemed like sour grapes at the time, the Cubs have had complaints like that in the past–so, who knows? He can pitch every day and does get lefties out.

  24. Heh. I’m not too worried about this guy. $1.6M is a good little bit for a LOOGY, but either he’ll be used as a lefty reliever, which we need, or he’ll be used to get another player that we need. Either way, he’ll be useful.

    Infante plays short, which makes him more valuable than Prado and Aybar, but why not Lillibridge? Doesn’t quite make sense.

  25. Rob,

    Lillibridge is now totally freed up to be included in a Bedard deal. I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t the first thought that popped into my head when I read that we got Infante. I may be going crazy.

  26. Per DOB:

    Braves are going to designate Willie Harris for assignment to make room. Can still re-sign him to a minor-league deal if he doesn’t get claimed, which I’m pretty sure he won’t be since teams all have their 40-man rosters set.

  27. I think theres very little sense in Lillibridge being a ML back-up at this point, when he could be playing full-time in AAA, either forcing our hand in the big leagues, or improving his value as a trade piece.

    Three AB’s a week in the big leagues is kind of a waste for a prospect SS. That’s what the Infante’s of the world are there for.

  28. Oops. I was confused and thought we traded Acosta not Ascanio. I guess this works ok then although I’d rather have seen Lillibridge as the super utility infielder and didn’t think there was such a huge need for a LOOGY.

  29. Has the Orioles expressed a desire or openness to actually trading Bedard, or is this just speculation?

  30. #47 – they said they have received offers from 10 teams, of course, we are not one of them. I think they’ll trade him for the right pieces. Detroit is rumored to have offered Maybin and Andrew Miller

  31. or this could happen too

    The Marlins and Tigers are talking about a monster deal that would send Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis over to the Tigers for Andrew Miller, Cameron Maybin, and others. Dave Dombrowski has always worked well with the Marlins, his former team.

    Rosenthal confirms Bob Dutton’s assertion – the Royals signing Jose Guillen may not stop them from getting Andruw Jones too.

  32. I struck Corey and Eric Patterson out on the same day in an All-Star tournament when I was in 5th grade.

  33. Rob, the Orioles are quite openly shopping Bedard, and MacPhail wants to trade him, but it’s all very hard to tell because Angelos can and will nix anything he doesn’t like. It’s the same for Tejada — they’ve been wanting to trade him for the past couple years and could never pull the trigger, a mixture of bad front office and horrible ownership. It’ll take a king’s ransom to pry Bedard out of Baltimore, and apparently the Blue Jays really want him because he’s Canadian. I’m not sanguine about our chances, and we’ll have no chance to extend his contract. But you’re right — I think the Infante deal makes Lillibridge a major trade chip.

    I posted a diary at about the Ascanio trade here. If you’d like, please go vote on who you think won the trade, if anyone did.

  34. AAR, you make good points about our recent trades. I dont like most of them.

    Davies for Dotel – terrible, might not hurt us, but never would help us either

    McBride for Ledezma – terrible

    Tex for Salty, Andrus, Harrison, another – good, but if no extension I wouldnt have

    Renteria for Hernandez/Jurrjens – I actually like this one. Freed up salary and got something for Edgar before his FA

    LaRoche for Gonzo/Lillibridge – like this one also

    Ring deal – we’ll see, but he should be good for us

  35. I’d say the Braves won the trade since Ascanio didn’t look especially good this year while Ohman should be fine if Bobby uses him strictly as a LOOGY and Infante will be a HUGE upgrade over Woodward as backup shortstop who hopefully never gets any playing time but probably will.

  36. My room mate is a huge cubs fan and we would always tease him when Will “Bad” Ohman came into the game.

  37. Ascanio is still young though and only had a sample size in the bigs. I thought he looked pretty good in his short work

  38. mlb rumors…

    Billy Beane sees Dan Haren as equal in value to Johan Santana, all things considered. Over the next three years, that could be true – plus Haren is much more reasonable in terms of salary. Beane’s focus is young pitching.
    Joe Blanton won’t be cheap either; Beane equates him with Brad Penny.

  39. Yeah the McBride for Ledezma was TERRIBLE.

    McBride was a WHOLE lot more effective than Ledezma.. Man the Tigers took us for a RIDE huh?

  40. Does Infante = KJ platoon partner

    No. Contrary to what you might hear Bobby Cox is not stupid. Kelly Johnson will be your starting 2B in 2008. Again.

    Oh, and he wasn’t really platooned in 2007. He pulled in 521 at bats in 147 games. Yes, Cox spotted Escobar at 2B occasionally to get him (and his hot bat) into some games, but that logjam was addressed when they moved Renteria.

    I know it’s popular to pretend that Bobby Cox is a clueless git who has no idea what he’s doing, but it’s also factually incorrect. Kelly Johnson was not platooned last year. He will not be platooned this year.

  41. Sam, he was platooned. He wasn’t (much) at the beginning of the year, and he wasn’t when Escobar was playing short because Renteria was hurt, but when Escobar was on the team and available, he played second against lefties — and on a couple of occasions, against righties.

  42. @59

    Dix, I’ve been meaning to talk to you about that. You should find yourself a safehouse or a relative close by. Lay low for a while, because you’re probably wanted for murder.

  43. Kelly Johnson played 133 games and 1153.3 defensive innings at 2B last year. Escobar played 21 games and 164.3 defensive innings at 2B. Calling that a platoon is idiotic. Johnson was the starting 2B in 2008. Escobar got at bats after he came up because Cox wanted to get him into games, a fact that won’t be an issue in 2008 because he’s the starting SS. The idea that Cox is going to platoon KJ with Omar Infante is absurd on its face. Sorry bro, but it’s just Cox bashing for the sake of Cox basing in my book.

  44. So Infante is a Pete Orr who can play SS, and Ohman is a MacBride who can find the plate. Does that sound about right? If so, this sounds like a pretty “meh” trade.

  45. Have I ever been a Cox-basher?

    Yunel Escobar 2007 Batting Gamelogs – Baseball-Reference PI

    Escobar came up on June 2, and played mostly third base with Chipper on the shelf until June 22; he played shortstop from August 3 to Sept. 7. So the period in which he could have platooned at second includes June 23-Aug. 2 and Sept. 8-Sept 27 (when Renteria was shut down).

    In the first period, he started fourteen games at second base.

    In the second, he started seven games at second base.

    That’s 21 starts in fifty games or less. That, my friend, is a platoon.

  46. To me, the trade is okay except for the money involved. I hate when the Braves spend $1M here and $2M there on spare parts and then don’t have enough money to bring on true talent. I really feel like the Infante and Ohman roles could have been filled as effectively internally for a lot less money.

  47. But durinf the 110 games or so that Escobar wasn’t splitting time with KJ, we didn’t see Woodward or Prado getting that many starts. Or am I blanking out those starts completely from my mind?

  48. #71: Sam, I’m with Mac. KJ may have played 133 games at 2B, but alot of those he didn’t start. As his early summer slump took hold in June Bobby started platooning him. Woodward saw 11 games at 2B, Prado 10, Escobar 21, Orr, 4. Kelly had 424 PA’s against RHP and 184 against LHP, and given how many LHP’s the Braves faced last year, its a bigger descrepancy than it looks at first.

  49. Sam, he was platooned. He wasn’t (much) at the beginning of the year, and he wasn’t when Escobar was playing short because Renteria was hurt, but when Escobar was on the team and available, he played second against lefties — and on a couple of occasions, against righties.

    This is completely true. From around the end of June to early August when Edgar got hurt, KJ and Esco were platooning. For example, on July 14,15,16 we faced three straight lefties and KJ didn’t start once.

    At the time many of us assumed it was because he’s was being showcased, but I guess the reality is that the organization really thinks Yunel is valuable and needs at bats.

    But there is no getting around the fact that KJ was platooning for at least part of last season.

  50. Apparently the Lowrie kid the Red Sox are including has a lot of potential. I would think the Twins would want Hughes over Lester too.

  51. Escobar to 3rd to spell Chipper occasionally, Infante to SS. KJ starting 2b until his first slump then he platoons with Escobar with Infante playing short.

    Whither Lillibridge? Trade bait? Whom said that first… good catch. No mlb resume but too good to repeat AAA. Hmmmmm

    I am betting that Ohman was the real target of the trade. Cubs insist the Braves take Infante too.

  52. As for the platooning, I don’t think KJ platooning part of the year with Escobar would signal a preference to platoon KJ. We see how much the Braves value Escobar if they were willing to trade Andrus and Renteria. The platoon may have been more about getting Escobar in the lineup than getting KJ out of the lineup.

  53. I am w/ Nevin. The Cubs just handed us their crap; I liked Ascancio a lot and don’t understand this at all.

  54. Best I can tell, we were 7-7 in games that Escobar started at 2B while he was platooning with KJ.

  55. Have I ever been a Cox-basher?

    Not to my knowledge, no. I was lazily conflating your post with other posts on the subject. My bad.

    So the period in which he could have platooned at second includes June 23-Aug. 2 and Sept. 8-Sept 27 (when Renteria was shut down).

    In the first period, he started fourteen games at second base.

    In the second, he started seven games at second base.

    That’s 21 starts in fifty games or less. That, my friend, is a platoon.

    Perhaps, but it is a “platoon” completely removed from context. Escobar came up to fill in for Chipper and more or less raked. Cox needed to find him at bats when Chipper returned and gave his starting 2B breathers in order to do so. Escobar then played for Renteria and continued to play well. When Renteria returned Cox returned to spelling Johnson to get Escobar at bats. You could technically call that a “platoon” but it’s really just a matter of who you’re going to tak ABs away from in order to keep Escobar fresh and productive. You’re obviously not going to sit Chipper and Renteria was killing the ball when his ankle was healthy, so you flip Escobar and Johnson for a bit and get Johnson, who had never played a full 162 game schedule, some rest to boot.

    That doesn’t change the fact that Johnson was the starting 2B for the vast majority of the year, and it certainly doesn’t indicate that Cox would platoon Johnson with Omar Infante. And that was the commentary that I was responding to. There is a distinct difference between getting ABs for your red-hot SS prospect and giving KJs at bats to a journey man backup. KJ is no more in danger of being platooned for Infante than Andruw was in danger of losing at bats to Willie Harris.

  56. Look at Ellsbury’s minor league stats. I’m not that impressed.

    I don’t think KJ was platooned. They were trying to get Escobar’s bat in the lineup. Yes, he was “platooned” if you wanna call it that during short stretches, but it was because Renteria and Chipper were in the lineup and they needed to get Escobar in somehow. As someone else mentioned, Woodward and Prado didn’t start that much at second. So if KJ was in a platoon, those guys would have been playing when Escobar was at SS or 3B.

    Unfortunately you can’t prove it one way or the other. Without knowing Cox’s mind, you can say “Escobar didn’t platoon all year because he was needed somewhere else (SS and 3B)” or “Escobar only played second because they wanted his bat in the lineup.” Either way, you can’t really prove it, because they’re both true.

  57. From Mark Bowman and the Braves website:

    “The deal, which is expected to be officially announced early Tuesday afternoon, allows Braves general manager Frank Wren to fill two of his four primary needs. During the remainder of this week’s Winter Meetings, he will continue to look for a more experienced center field option and a backup catcher.”

    It would be great if Wren could add another starter….Bedard, Haren, Harang etc….

    Still a decent CF would help….

  58. That doesn’t change the fact that Johnson was the starting 2B for the vast majority of the year

    That’s probably a fair statement. KJ started 126 games last season which is a pretty good total for a first year starter.

  59. Just because ESPN’s reporting has been even more amazing lately than usual I wanted to share this. In an article about Samari Rolle complaining about an official calling him a “boy” ESPN makes the following observation:

    “McKinnely, who played collegiately at UCLA, is black, as is Rolle.”

  60. The apparent fact that Wren thinks he’s “done” with the pitching staff with the additions of Glavine and Ohman makes me feel a little ill.

    There are some big time stud pitchers available which is pretty unusual. It’s hard to believe our front office is sitting on it’s hands and saying “No thanks, we’re good”.

  61. The apparent fact that Wren thinks he’s “done” with the pitching staff with the additions of Glavine and Ohman makes me feel a little ill.

    There are some big time stud pitchers available which is pretty unusual. It’s hard to believe our front office is sitting on it’s hands and saying “No thanks, we’re good”.

    Completely agree. With what Parish said also. We don’t need to give up anything for a defense-only backup catcher…

  62. @90 About Ellsbury I agree….but the short very successful MLB stint in a pennant race can sure raise your stock. Look at his minor league career and extrapolate the major league career with a regression to mean and whats so special? Of course he is supposed to be a plus plus defender too. But Jacoby (man that name brings back the horrible memories of Len Barker) holding up getting Santana?

    Call me simple minded but when Escobar bats against lefties and Johnson against righties aint that a platoon?

    One point made though is that I think that y’all are right. Just because Bobby did it last season when Yunel was red hot isn’t an indicator of what he’ll do next season.

  63. Who do you want Wren to trade for one of these top flight pitchers? James, Lillibridge, and a bunch of crap? Most of the young pitching talent is in the low minors, and Jurrjens is not getting traded. Jair is regarded to be a #2 or #3 starter and he is very cheap. The Braves don’t have a Hughes, Lester, or Kershaw to get a Haren, Bedard, or Harang caliber pitcher.

  64. There are some big time stud pitchers available which is pretty unusual.

    Do you honestly think the Braves can matchup offers for Bedard or Haren? I don’t. Trades are about teams with matching needs sorting out what they can exchange. The Braves don’t have the trading chits required to get Baltimore or Oakland to exchange their starters. Beane is asking for the moon and the O’s are always asking for too much.

  65. Just because ESPN’s reporting has been even more amazing lately than usual I wanted to share this.

    If we are taking shots at ESPN, how about this line from TMQ:

    The BCS asserts that it is choosing the best possible set of five bowl games — and usually achieves that goal.

    Couldn’t agree more.

    The Georgia-Hawaii Sugar Bowl and the USC-Illinois Rose Bowl

  66. That’s the point I’ve tried to make, jea. We can’t compete with the best possible offers from the Angels or Dodgers, but the reports right now are that it’s the Mets who are close on Bedard. We can compete with any offer they make.

  67. This trade is blah…I don’t think it matters much if we made it or didn’t make it. I’m not sure if it makes us better or worse. Like I said blah…

    I’m really just waiting to see what the heck the whole “we have millions of dollars to spend” really means. At this point it appears they really just meant that we could spend 2 or 3 million dollars more for 2008.

  68. It’s a minor trade so it’s not a big deal one way or the other, but count me in with I’m with Nevin and others who don’t care for the trade. Infante has an obp of .300 and Ohman walks 4+ batters per 9 innings. We gave up a decent prospect plus $3m of payroll room for mediocre talent.

    Re the platooning or not platooning of KJ–it was actually smart for Cox to play Escobar instead of KJ against lefties. KJ had .771 ops against LH but Escobar’s was .870. On the other hand, Cox also gave some starts to Prado and his mighty .494 ops against lefties.

    I’m with Stu and Parish–please no trade for a backup catcher.

  69. Robert’s sarcasm is not lost on me because I’m on the same page (wearing different colors, of course.)

    A Georgia-USC Rose Bowl would’ve been an outstanding consolation-prize game. It would’ve been a weird matchup with two hot teams broadcast at a time when nothing else is on TV.

    Nothing against Illinois or Hawaii, but that’s the kind of game that gets you going.

  70. KJ was platooned last year for the period when Escobar was up and wasn’t starting somewhere else. But that’s IT. He was NEVER platooned with anyone else.

    What’s silly is thinking that Cox will platoon KJ with Infante just because he platooned him with our future starting SS. Infante was acquired to be a utility guy and that’s what he’ll be. Escobar was not being viewed as a utility player, and that’s why he was given starts.

    As for a Prado platoon… well, I don’t doubt that Prado will get like a start a week or something, and that it’ll probably come against a lefty. But I still think KJ will get like 140 starts, and that’s fine. It’s not like Prado’s bad is Woodwardish; he’ll probably hit .280 with a bit of pop and below-average OBA. Which doesn’t like kill you.

  71. mlb rumors…

    UPDATE, 12-4-07 at 1:15pm: ESPN Peter Gammons says the Twins are trying to decide between a 3-for-1 (Ellsbury/Lowrie/Masterson) or a 4-for-1 (Lester/Crisp/Lowrie/Masterson). No contract negotiations with the Red Sox and Santana’s agent have taken place yet.

    I think you take the 4 for 1

  72. Also, I like the deal. Ascanio gave us nice depth in the ‘pen, but if Ohman can strike out Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and the like from time to time, it’ll be well worth it. :-)


    says the braves are offering chuck james for david dejesus. not sure i’m all that excited about this one if it goes through. unless wren has bigger plans to turn around and trade a schafer package for a bedard/haren, i think this is a bad deal. with hampton’s injury risks, why trade chucky for a stop-gap?

  74. Stu,

    Maybe we could trade Clint Sammons for a good defensive catcher who is under contract for one year at about $2M.

  75. RE–Maybe we could trade Clint Sammons for a good defensive catcher who is under contract for one year at about $2M.

    Why? Sammons is good defensively, is cheaper, and is under control for five more years.

  76. I think Parish was being sarcastic Frank…wait, maybe you were as well…..that’s weird!

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