350 thoughts on “Why?”

  1. This has to be the first domino. Wren now has some next step in his plan to land a masher. Third step: Profit!

  2. What a horrible trade — in no way, shape, or form, does this trade make sense. Only if this Vizcaino kid turns out as good as Neftali Feliz would I even consider this trade ever being any good. What a load of crap. Thanks for the lump of coal, Wren.

    The only consolation I have is that Vazquez pitched like crap in the Bronx the one year he was there, so hopefully he’ll implode again. Not that I want him to be unsuccessful, but it’s the effing Yankees.

  3. The Post is confirming that we also get a Arodys Vizcaino in the deal. 18 years old and went 2.13, 1.157, with a 3.47 SO/BB in A ball last year.

    We’ll also be getting about 8.5 million in salary relief for the year, which I assume is all going to go to signing another bat—a first baseman?

    Based on all the available offensive options at that range though it looks like a marginal improvement in offensive production or we hold flat and our pitching got way worse.

  4. FRANK!!!! WTF ARE YOU DOING!!!!! Melky Cabrerra is the best you can do for the best pitcher on the staff?????? Even if Vazquez returns to his old pre ace inconsistent form he is STILL worth more than that piece of shit.

    Anyone, some of you smart guys, please tell me that there is some silver lining to this retarded idiocy.

  5. WTF????? This is one of the worst, if not THE worst trade in the history of the Atlanta Braves!! It is so bad that it can’t be true, really. If it is true, Wren must be insane! There is absolutely NO rush to trade Vasquez at this point unless we get an exceptional package in return. And now THAT!

  6. the melky=crap top 10:

    1. melky is a below average centerfielder.
    2. his obp is francoeurian
    3. he provides no power
    4. his ops is atrocious
    5. he costs money
    6. we beter be flipping him
    7. this better not be true
    8. i hate christmas trades
    9. we better be getting poolholes to play first
    10. frank wren is on the naughty list.

  7. Ugh. Better be in the service of a better deal down the line.

    Because Melkypoo is nothing more than one dude in a long line of crummy, marginal Yankees players who get hoisted to the rafters because they wear the pinstripes.

  8. lets play a game

    who’s the worst
    Jordan Schafer
    Brandon Jones
    Nate McLouth
    Jason Heyward
    Matt Diaz
    Melky Cabrera

    thats right, Wren just traded the guy who finished 4th in the NL CY Young voting for Cabrera (who will now have to be on the 25 man roster basically) and we actually have 5 of’rs who are better than him.

    Garret Anderson > Melky Cabrera

    Merry Christmas guys, guess Wren can go skiing now

  9. Dayton Moore and Ed Wade just read about this trade and laughed.

    But, seriously, I’d rather have Tyler Flowers than this package.

  10. I was starting to like Wren, but this along with the Soriano deal is horrible. We may still be able to pull off a good year if we sign a big bat with the extra money, but it won’t be because Wren has done even a halfway decent job.

  11. No way Wren does this unless no one wanted Lowe without us having to pay most of his freight. I’m worried about his confidence.

    Can the front office plant an article with Bowman along the lines of when they really thought about it they liked Lowe more than Vasquez? He’d buy that right?

  12. At least we held on to disgruntled Derek Lowe.

    I wonder what we could have got for Vazquez as a deadline trade after falling out of playoff contention.

  13. Hey, it’s ok. Anytime you can get a guy to replace the great Garrett Anderson’s numbers for your best pitcher YOU JUST HAVE TO DO IT!

  14. I’m not getting political here, but Dick Morris has two recent books that describe Wren last two deals perfectly: “Fleeced” and “Catastrophe”

  15. Cabrera wasn’t even better, defensively, in CF than McLouth was in 2009.

    I keep looking for justifications. I keep failing to find them.

  16. Maybe I’m just hoping that this craptastic deal is just the tip of the iceberg, but this has to mean there’s a nearly a deal in place for a guy like Bay or the other Cabrera, right.
    I mean, can any of you remember another trade like this, one of the best pitchers in the league for a guy who probably won’t even start in a weak outfield?

  17. The upside of Melkey is that he’s really cheap. He’s making just over a million next year. The whole trade is really Melkey, the two pitchers, and whoever we sign with the rest of the Vasquez money we saved. I just can’t think of who that would be that would even it out.

    Also, we’ve got a proud/pissed off Lowe who just realized he’s not even descent trade bait.

  18. Hi, newly minted Washington Nationals fan here, but I have some questions..

    First, I’m going to pray for Furcal Rule on this. Please, no, no, no.

    We should’ve just re-signed LaRoche for 1B and gone into the season if this is the rabies ridden rabbit that Wren is pulling from his ass, to mix metaphors.

    Why don’t GMs show some freakin’ sack and have faith in their teams? The Braves could’ve had a dominant pitching staff along with a good offense (after jettisoning Frenchy and acquiring McLouth and LaRoche the offense was, what, top 4 in the NL?). That wins a lot of games, builds enthusiasm and.. wait for it.. CREATES REVENUE!!! Po$t$ea$on!!

    And if you still must trade someone, do it in-season so you only pay part of the contract. We really couldn’t have done that? Really?!!

  19. There’s not a single free-agent first baseman available who would make this deal worthwhile. We are either trading for Cabrera, or we have a completely incompetent front office.

    Just looking at FanGraphs’ UZR/150. Someone with access to BJOL might tell us about their respective +/-.

  20. Disappointing, for sure.

    I watch Melky play a lot and he’s a useful guy on a team with a lotta other power, but hard to see him as a major contributor anywhere else.

    I always got into arguments about him with Yankee fans: I thought he was a good 4th outfielder & not much more, although the new Yankee Stadium was the best thing that ever happened to him.

    Melky’s upsides: Can play 3 OF positions pretty well, has a good arm (led the AL in OF assists a couple years ago), has some speed, doesn’t strike out much, can switch hit (he’s better as a lefty).

    Melky’s major downside: Lack of power.

    Otherwise, he’s really mediocre. Not Andruw Jones range-wise, but, y’know, alright.

    He’s not an awful ballplayer, just nothing special, certainly not someone you’d want for your best starter. He’s a switch-hitting Nate McLouth with less power.

    Hope we’re not done “bolstering our lineup.”

  21. This is the real price of signing Lowe for an outrageous sum of money….We can’t get rid of him and we will still be with us!

    And I thought that the Soriano deal was bad….

  22. If this isn’t the first move in a series to bring in a masher than this is about as bad as it gets. Trade our ace for a fourth outfielder

  23. Read that DOB says that the FO had exhausted all the possibilities of moving Lowe without having to eat all his salary. Knowing that, I understand moving Vazquez but there had to have been more interest in him than just as a straight dump.

  24. I have been bullish on Wren for the past year, but I am now off that wagon. Screw this, and screw him. I agree with Stu: there is simply no 1B worth this. They would have to give up a Jurrjens+ to get a Fielder or Gonzalez or Cabrera, so there’s obviously no way one of those guys is coming. This is a staggeringly stupid deal, whether you’re stat-minded or not. I cannot come up with a single justification for this, unless management suddenly cut payroll without warning. We now have the second-best pitching staff in the division, and a middling offense. WTF?

  25. Does anyone else have a sense of what are available to spend money looks like? We save about 8.5 on the Vasquez deal, but is there more floating around. If we can bring on one salary after this to bring us up to budget, how much money can we take on? I haven’t been following the money moving around well enough.

  26. Finally, Post #14 gives us the first post-Vazquez use of everyone’s favorite hot stove cliche, “we got fleeced.”

  27. I still cannot believe this is really happening! I had a lot of faith in Wren, really I think he did very well so far, but now…?? We’re doomed! What an idiot!!

  28. I don’t care if we get Pujols with the extra money from this deal (well actually I do), there is no way anyone can say this is a good trade with a straight face. It looks like Wren panicked again.

    I hope we spend the extra money wisely, but this is ridiculous. I could understand it a little more if Vazquez was being overpaid, but he’s a bargain based on the current market.

  29. Could this be that they really just wanted that A-ball pitcher? Maybe add some depth for the future and save some money this year to add the bat we need? I’m not justifying it, just asking if that could be a possibility.

  30. Here’s my take now that I’ve calmed down from the Hulk-rage that the trade hurled me into: The Lowe market just wasn’t there, at least not any team that was willing to take the Braves off the hook for his entire salary. Move on to Vazquez. At this point it appears that cash was most important to Wren (cash that will hopefully be used to aquire a big bat). If he traded Vazquez for a player of equal ‘value’ it would most likey be the case that said player would have a pretty good size salary, thus the net cash from the trade (Vazquez salary – Acquired player’s salary) would leave enough to pay the mythical ‘big bat’. So that leaves you with one option – trade Vazquez for a player (or players) that require very little salary commitment. You could just trade him for a bag of prospects, but that does nothing for your team in 2010. So you then go looking for a major league player (in the braves case the only vacant positions are 1st base and outfield) who commands a low salary.
    Put that all together and Wren had to find a situation where all the following applied:
    A trade partner seeking a starter, with the $11 mil to pay Vazquez, AND a cheap, major league outfielder or firstbaseman (this may have actually been narrowed down to OFs who can play a solid centerfield) who the team can part with.

    When you add all that up, Wren might not have really had as many options as we would like to believe. Again, this trade makes no sense in a vacuum and still has me a bit angry, but if it is viewed as a calculated and necessary step toward getting the braves that elusive creatue known as the Middle-of-the-Lineup Hitter (LAtin: Sluggis Maximus) then chances are we will feel much better about this trade next summer.

  31. Joshua at 44,

    I’m sure that this is what they will tell us, but of course that’s bullshit. You don’t trade your ace for an A-baller, no matter how good he is. 9 out of 10 never make it anyway.

  32. according to dob, we didnt even get the young, stud pitcher, but a shortstop prospect. joel sherman tweeted that the deal is done. melky better be getting flipped. what a horrible day to be a braves fan. our lineup and pitching staff just got a lot worse.

    so, our starting rotation is now:


  33. What this means is that the Yankees get Vazquez for free. They don’t give a shit about the money, and for them Melky was a spare part at best. Congratulations!

  34. DOB
    @ajcbraves: This is obviously not the power hitter that Braves fans had envisioned. Melky Cabrera? Really? Yes, really

  35. You guys got your panties all in a bunch, wait til Javy gets back to NY and we see his HR numbers go through the roof in that stadium. Come on, Javy has a career year in the NL and all of a sudden he’s this high demand on a contract year pitcher who will get us a power bat???? Gimme a break, no one is going to like this because Javy pitched well last year. The market for Lowe was nonexistent, so Wren had to move Javy and picked up a serviceable OF whose good in the clubhouse and minor league prospects. They weren’t going to be able to re-sign JAvy next year anyway since they can’t unload Lowe

  36. There is no big bat coming from this, unless it’s Bay, and that will just make it worse. This franchise is f’ed for 2010. Thanks Frank. This was positively Daytonian in structure.

  37. BP says Vizcaino is #2 prospect in Yankees system for what that’s worth.


    I’d also like to point out that Wren wisely got an Arodys back for a Boone, keeping us holding steady in the fun first name stable. I think we all would have been even more disappointed if Boone left and all we got we’re some Dans and Rons. So there is an upside!

    Also, I’m reading now that the salary relief from Vasquez shakes out to about 9.5 a year.

  38. My biggest issue is that outside of the 2 MM saved, I don’t really see a difference between Melky and Ryan Church.

    In reality, as Vazquez is only under contract one year, it isn’t a complete ballbreaker, but it definitely makes me wonder what the price would’ve been last year for the White Sox to trade both Vazquez and Swisher…

  39. MikeM

    Nice post. Summed it up well. I love how everyone in here is some arm chair GM that thinks they have all the answers

  40. so if we do go get Laroche and Nady, does that basically make us throw Heyward in the minors next season?

    OF’rs – Diaz/Melky/Nate/Nady

  41. It’s nice that Vizcaino is the #2 prospect in the Yankee’s system, but apparently he’s not in the deal. It’s being reported that we’re getting a minor league shortstop.

  42. The point is that there was NO way whatsover this team could go into the season with all 6 starters. Wren backed himself into a corner and had no leverage in any trade. Seeing the money they saved, the players they gained, clearly it may not have “improved” the team but with the situation they were in I doubt they had any other choice. You can bet that your going to see 1 or 2 signings within the next 2 weeks though

  43. jdpeace,
    with the yankees sending money to us (500k), add in melky’s 3 mil and subtract vazquez’s 11.5, that gives us a grand total of 78 million, leaving about 18 million dollars to get something of value.

  44. @ Mac’s 50

    I agree whole heartedly. I think people are forgetting how much Hanson’s workload jumped from 08 to 09. There is honestly no way to know exactly what you are going to get out of him.

    Note: I personally Hanson is a stud and will make us forget about Vasquez.

    To all:
    With the above said, Vasquez has had an incredibly inconsistent career. (the word ‘headcase’ has been thrown around) That rap has had to hurt his value a little.

    This is not the first time Milky’s name has come up in relation to the braves wanting him. Wren has coveted this guy. Alot Yankees fans hate this trade to.

    Milky will probably be in one of the corner spots in the OF, which probably suits him better. Maybe this is one that will work out for both sides.

  45. ryan c

    would you rather see them try to sign Bay/Holliday and go inhouse for 1B? Or use the 18 to sign both another OF and 1B

  46. So, maybe Wren thinks Vazquez’s 2009 is a fluke, Lowe will rebound, and he can now get Miguel/Bay…?

    Bleh. Give us something to hope for, Wren.

  47. “Alot Yankees fans hate this trade to.”

    Only because they still have a bad taste in their mouths from Vazquez’s first go-round with the team. Once they appreciate what a steal it is, they’ll come around.

  48. You could just trade him for a bag of prospects, but that does nothing for your team in 2010.

    And what exactly does Melky “do” for the team in 2010? Besides make lots of outs, that is – .269/.331/.385/.716 88OPS+ with below average defense. Dave Cameron tries to talk Atlanta fans back from the edge, but I think this is still a trainwreck.


  49. If Wren had not signed Lowe to all this money, would we be in this spot? (NO) I got killed on this position on here last year, but Lowe was a waste. 30 mil of the braves payroll is to two 38 year olds (Lowe and Chipper).


    Again, why was signing Lowe a good idea?

    Also, when is the organization going to realize that there is a need for an elite run producing bat, and when are they going to sign one? Nady and/or LaRoche won’t do the trick.

  50. i dont want bay. bay would cost 15 million and leave nothing left to sign an of, which is OBVIOUSLY going to have melky cabrera’s shitty ass in it. oh, and if you guys dont know, melky is a switch hitter so he’ll play all 162 games no matter what it might cost the team.

    the only way wren can redeem himself is if he trade melky for prospects and gets his worthless ass out of a braves uniform.

  51. Time to chime in after weeks of silence.

    Frank Wren is incompetent and that’s all there is to it. Wren had to dump Vazquez because he couldn’t find any takers for the remaining 45 million left on Derek Lowe’s contract.

    That said, when Wren called Derek Lowe an ACE type pitcher, he was wrong. When Wren called Nate Mclouth a LEAD OFF type hitter, he was wrong again, and this latest fart blossom of a trade is more fall out from Wren’s inability to correctly gauge the TYPE of players needed.

  52. haha yeah yankee fans are out of their minds. His ERA will be well over 4.50 next year in that stadium.

  53. Cameron is wrong, Melky is not pre-arb. The Braves won’t save 9.5 million because part of that will go towards Melky’s raise. Do we have estimates for what he’ll make?

  54. Apparently the deal does include Vizcaino and not a SS – just a misprint by DOB. There’s still no way to spin this as a positive for the Braves. Oh and we get $500K in the deal – as someone said, this is enough to re-sign Norton.

  55. I don’t get it. I know the front office went into the off season looking to improve the offense, which was terrible in the first half of the season but was actually pretty good at the end of the year. Now you’ve taken away your advantage in pitching, and are now going into the year with a guy still coming off major elbow surgery, a disgruntled veteran who sucked balls last year, and Kawakami who you just don’t quite know what you’ll get from. Granted Hanson and Jurrjens were great last year but they are still young pitchers and you never know what you’ll from young pitchers. Vazquez was the one rock in the rotation. Every time out you knew he was going at least 7 innings and would keep the team in the game. That’s gone now. So is the one advantage they had in the East. Pitching depth.

    I thought that if they couldn’t find a taker for Lowe that they would say screw it, there’s nothing out there that will be better than having more pitching than anyone in the divison. Resign Laroche and plug in inexpensive free agent A in right field until the brought Heyward up. The team won 86 games basically on the strength of the rotation and an improved offense in the second half of the year. Why would you break that up? Every year since ’06 the Braves have gone into the off season with a “plan” to fix what was wrong with the ballclub, essentially done so, only to create new holes elsewhere. I’m sick of this.

    Oh and how elated do Yankee fans feel right now??? They may not particularly like Vazquez from his ’04 performance there, but they were going into the season with Chad Goudain as their 5th starter and now they give up a spare part for the guy who was 4th in the Cy Young. Suddenly the Yanks rotation doesn’t look so bad comapred to Boston’s. Your welcome a-holes.

  56. What Melky ‘does’ for this team is relative to what the Braves other options are. Melky’s defense may be below average, but it is useful to the Braves. Diaz and McLouth aren’t exactly defensive studs. Melky is also a safer offensive option than anything else the Braves have. Sure, there is a chance that Schafer or Heyward wow everyone and win a job out of spring training and manage to stay a step ahead of major league pitchers and produce for a full season without any hiccups… but I wouldn’t bet all your 2010 chips on that happening.

  57. Vazquez will not do well for the yankees. He is a national league pitcher. His era will shoot up to 4.50 minimum.

    Having said that, it’s still a very disappointing deal. Vazquez was a valuable Brave. He was worth more to the Braves than they got for him.

    Obviously this deal is about money and the fact that the Braves couldn’t deal Lowe and his horrible contract. I think the baseball economy is very soft, much like the national economy. The lack of movement and big money free agant signings this offseason suggest that there are a lot of teams that are financially fearful.

  58. @82 – when an article concludes with “This is not the best deal they could have made. But it’s not the worst”, I generally don’t construe it as a ringing endorsement.

  59. on a brighter note, if we were to pursue bay, we could probably sign troy glaus as well to play 1b if there’s a way to trade cabrera.

    bay: 4/60 million
    glaus: 1/5 million

    i need to wait a few more days before i really start laying in to wren. maybe this is a precursor!
    new pitcher
    mike dunn

    adrian gonzalez

    then sign bay (which, could actually happen, i mean the payroll would only be at 95-96 million).
    please redeem yourself wren…confidence slipping.

  60. What Melky ‘does’ for this team is relative to what the Braves other options are. Melky’s defense may be below average, but it is useful to the Braves.

    There are a LOT of major leaguers that this applies to, (and probably some freely available AAAA talent as well) most of whom would not require Vazquez in trade. That’s really not much of a defense of this trade. At least if it had been prospects only, one could use the cost savings towards acquiring FA’s who aren’t bums. Now the roster spot is filled by a lightweight hitter who is about average at best defensively by Cameron’s own measurements.

  61. @91

    I agree with the premise. Can’t really judge the deal till we determine what Wren will do with the extra $

  62. If we’ve really put $15 per year or so together to drop on a big bat and we get someone unarguably worth it and effective I’ll be reserved and hopeful. Our pitching just got very question marky in the off-season—could be really good or fall off a cliff—Lowe, Hudson, Kawakami/Rotating 5th Starter could all be terrible this year. Our new closer and set-up could blow out all four of their arms. Scary.

  63. The one positive form this deal is there is some money freed up. With a likely OF of Diaz/Cabrera in LF, McLouth in CF and Heyward in RF, could a deal for Dunn or Cabrera be in the works for 1B?

  64. @36, so we’re talking Willie Harris, eh.. excellent

    ..only Melky’s not from Georgia and has no love for the Braves.

    I’m now mad that my Washington Nationals GM was not all over that. Willie Harris plus fancy-named A-ball pitcher and scrap prospect for Vazquez would’ve been sweeeeet! Throw in a 25-yr old lefty reliever and twist our arm–we’ll make the deal!

    Poor Braves fans. I’m really glad I’m not one (as of 9:30 this morning). It must be depressing and infuriating. And confusing.

  65. A-ball pitchers… there’s a reason I call them lottery tickets.

    Hey, he just blew out his elbow/shoulder!
    Hey, he can’t get anyone out at Mississippi!
    Hey, he’s actually 26 years old!
    Hey, he never added a third pitch and he’s a middle reliever!
    Hey, he gives up two home runs a game in the majors!
    Hey, etc.

  66. I don’t like this at all–Melky is mediocre, the deal might have been ok if it had been Swisher instead of Melky, the prospect is nice but he’s in low A ball–but I’ll reserve judgment until I see how Wren spends the savings (presumably a bopper to play 1B). I also take this as confirmation that no one would take Lowe without the Braves picking up a large chunk of his salary (Marquis is roughly comparable and he signed for 7.5m).

  67. I like this trade only if it’s followed with the announcement that the freed money got us Jason Bay.

    WTF does Wren think Cabrera fixes? Certainly not the team’s power shortage.

    God I hope we don’t find out that Wren actually had the choice of Cabrera and Swisher and took Cabrera.

  68. Agreed, Melky Cabrera doesn’t equate to Vazquez in value but he certainly isn’t Willie Harris.

    Here is the skinny on Melky:

    25 year old versatile switch hitter, plays all three outfield spots, can lead off, good defensive player with a great arm and won’t be an unrestricted free agent until 2013. Projectable 15-20 HR power with 75-85 RBI provided he gets the requisite 550-600 at bats needed.

    Cabrera will get better with age and experience while adding youth, defense and speed to the Braves outfield.

    But again, he wasn’t worth Vazquez, not even close…..

  69. Just read the breaking news report on ESPN. Still trying to confirm that Arodys Vizcaino is even in the deal.


    The article suggests that the Braves could spend the money on Johnny Damon. That would be tragichilarious! I mean, has the author even looked at our.. I’m sorry, y’all’s roster? It also mentions Xavier Nady and potentially both of them to the Braves.

    What is this? Major League Baseball’s version of The Producers!

  70. The Braves didn’t trade for Melky, they traded for money. It stinks, but this was a way to clear payroll. They got back some value, but what will matter most is what they do with the financial flexibility.

    1 year of Vazquez = Melky, LOOGY, Lotto Ticket + Player X (acquired with the extra $)

    The equation isn’t balanced as is. The question is, who does Player X have to be to balance it?

  71. plays all three outfield spots

    in a below average fashion in CF, without enough pop for the corners.

    can lead off

    Badly. Career OBP .331

    good defensive player with a great arm

    Says who? See above.

    and won’t be an unrestricted free agent until 2013.

    He’s a super two who is arb eligible (cost you around 3M this year ), and will start to make real dough soon.

    Projectable 15-20 HR power with 75-85 RBI provided he gets the requisite 550-600 at bats needed.

    Projectable? Aren’t we all.

    He’s a 4th OF, and really hurts the roster construction of the team.

  72. Wow! I didn’t see this coming. I have to admit that this literally kicked me in the stomach. After some thought, there might be some bright side. I actually am in the camp that Vasquez’s trade value would never be higher.

    However, MELKY CABRERA? Man, you would have thought that Javy would have brought a much better bat than this,and the thought that he’s like Nate Mclouth with less power, isn’t exactly comforting.

    This also pretty much bars the door for Jason Heyward to start the season in Atlanta. Something which I’m particularly not happy about.

    We still need a power-hitting first-baseman (preferably a right-handed hitter)
    We still need to get rid of Lowe. I’d rather have KK and Medlin in the rotation, than this guy.

    Gee Whiz, I was going to go finish my Christmas shopping today, now I’ll probably just stay on the internet all day.

    Anyway, Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year to all my friends on the Braves Journal. And thanks Mac, for having the best blog on the net.

  73. @112 I think that sums it up perfectly. We’re focusing too much on Melky. We have to imagine the trade with a big player to be named later appended to it. We don’t get player X without freeing up the money and it will fall on how good player X is to determine whether the deal was worth it or not.

    We have to take a collective breath and then very quickly begin anxiously speculating on who we can now afford to bring in until we lose our shit again.

  74. @112, don’t we get to count 1st round & 1st round supplemental draft picks on the Vazquez side of the ledger??

  75. After the Soriano thing I think it’s pretty clear that you can’t count your draft picks before they’re in hand.

  76. #115

    There’s not much in the way of options for Player X right now that will significantly help the team and giving up Vazquez to sign Player X who may not be more than Xavier Nady (haha, Player X) was not a wise move.

  77. Is there an OF/1B guy out there that would be A) close to what we want and B) able to be had by packaging Melky with Medlen?

  78. Spike, Melky Cabrera was part of the 2009 World Champion New York Yankees everyday starting outfield who played in 154 games, mostly in center field.


    Good defender? anybody who can play all three outfield spots has the athleticism to be a good defender, and any scout will tell you that including myself.

    But I digress, just watch and learn:


  79. Sorry if this is been covered, but I’m having a busy day at work. My question: Do we know if Vizcaino was included in the deal or not at this point?

  80. Is Bay a possibility? We’ve got between 15-18? Go 5 for 75.

    Considering our need for a bat wouldn’t everyone do Vasquez and Boone for Bay, Melky, Dunn, Nady (assume we can sign him to play first) and Lotto Ticket.

  81. In Wren’s defense, we really do not know what the innards of the situation were like. I’m sure that he would have pulled the trigger on a D. Lowe trade even if it meant giving up 12 mill over the next three years. I think that this deal really does demonstrate that there was no market for Lowe, or that his suitors wanted the Braves to eat an absurd amount of money (15+). Although publicly it did not seem so, Vazquez may have never wanted to re-sign with the Braves (either way, we don’t know, only the Braves FO does!), and Frank was just trying to get value out of him while trading him to a team that was not in the NL. As it has already been mentioned, it might just be in preparation for an offer to an elite free-agent.

    When a trade that looks as lopsided on the surface like this occurs, there has to be something below the surface. Honestly, I’m not happy at all at this deal- woke up, got a call from a friend in Minnesota alerting me to what happened, and just about puked when I saw it on MLBTR. But, Frank is the GM, and it doesn’t seem like he’s going to go anywhere soon- so let’s hope out for the best.

  82. @124 I’m for manning up!!

    On a side note, Lotto Ticket was born in 1990. When I was 15!!! I liked it better when I’d read about Braves prospects and they were all older than me. It’s comforting to be junior to prospects.

  83. Fangraphs has a nice piece on the deal: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/the-vazquez-deal/

    which is summarized by the MLBTR guys pretty well:
    As Dave Cameron of FanGraphs says, the Braves obtain a decent outfielder who’s getting paid less than what he’s worth and a prospect with significant updside (Vizcaino), all while saving $8MM or more (I’m guessing Melky makes $2.5-3MM next season). The Braves dealt from strength and now have the money to lure a free agent bat to Atlanta.

  84. Its not bad. They have 6 starters, one who has a one year contract and they may not even be able to offer to arbitration to get picks b/c they can’t afford him (and have no place for him) if he accepts. They had ZERO leverage. In return they get 2 years cost control on a league average corner OF bat/ plus corner defender that fills a spot while they wait on Heyward and Schafer, they get 6 years control on a hard throwing LH releiever (albeit one that has trouble finding the plate) and the gem iof the deal is a 19 year-old SP with plus pitches, signed for $800K, ranked #3 in the NYY farm system that costs virtually nothing over the next 5-6 years. They unload $11.5M off their books… oh and pick-up a check for $500K for their troubles.

    Sure, they’d have preferred to get rid of Lowe or Kawakami, but they weren’t getting any return on those deals. For that situation, what can you say… you give up something you really didn’t need for exactly what you do right now and a player younger and cheaper than you get on the open market plus significant long-term upside.

  85. And if you look at this in broader perspective we got 1 great year from Vasquez(but not good enough to get us into the play-offs, given how the rest of the roster did), for Tyler Flowers. If we don’t make the Vasquez trade in the 1st place, we have a very viable 1B prospect to step in and play 1B in 2010 (and relieve Brian McCann at catcher as a very good bat, to let McCann rest); we don’t have Melky Cabrera as our 4th OF (who cares?), and we have the payroll relief from not having Vasquez to get another position filled (a regular OF who can hit).

  86. @106 – So you are saying you should not evaluate the talent you get in return to judge the trade – just on Major League talent alone? So based on that logic, we fleeced the Rangers in that deal for Tex. Yeah, it is always a possibility that the guy will not work out, but you can’t say that it was a bad idea to nab him simply b/c we don’t know what is going to happen.

    Either way it doesn’t really matter. I hate the deal with this guy involved too. Just saying that it makes the deal a little better.


    Garret Anderson and Jeff Francouer were everyday starting outfielders too. Doesn’t mean shit except the Yankees didn’t have anyone else.

    Ok now that I’m only enraged and not homicidal, this is just a straight salary dump. I have no hope that we are in the Bay or Holliday sweepstakes. Not even sure I want us to be. Not that they are bad players but they are going to get Texieria money and neither is nearly as good as the douche bag. If all we were doing was dumping it sure seems like we could have gotten more though.

  88. @130 I think we are going to have about $18 to spend. There’s obviously a lot of long term calculations to make, when does Chipper come off the books, when do we need to pay McCann, Hansen, etc. I’ve got to assume we can put down $15 for five years or so and use the balance to get another piece here or there. That’s Bay money, maybe. Probably a little under Holliday money, but the market’s terrible for players wanting big contracts so who knows.

  89. I actually wonder if McLouth is on his way out in another deal and we just wanted to have something in CF (not that Melky is the answer) other than Schafer.

  90. Wait, so everyone cried about losing a draft pick with Soriano, but we’re not thrilled to get a good prospect in this trade? And we dumped salary? And it’s quite possible last year was a fluke for Javy?

    I’m not thrilled, but I’m going to wait and see what we do with the cash to pass judgement.

  91. coach,
    what makes you think melky can lead off? his .330 opb? his minute stolen bases? or is it just the fact that he doesnt have power so he can hit leadoff? and where is this “projectablity” you are talking about? he had 13 hrs this year in a freaking little league park. i “project” melky to have 8 home runs this year. you use your measurement of “projectability” and i’ll use mine and we’ll see who comes closer. btw, you’re “know it all” ridiculous attitude was much better served torturing other people aside from braves bloggers. go away.

    trading lowe would have been trading for money. trading one of the top 3 pitchers in the national league last year is not trading money. we got hosed.

    oh, and by the way, i’m not so sure we even have the best pitching rotation in our division anymore.
    halladay, hamels, blanton, happ,?> huddy, jj, lowe, hanson, kk

    oh man does this suck. the fangraphs guy has no point. yes, melky might be “worth” more than his 3 million, however vazquez was worth 30 MILLION DOLLARS LAST YEAR AND IS PROJECTED TO BE WORTH 25 THIS YEAR!!!!!!!!! we lost in every aspect of this deal.

  92. Bethany

    Good post. Some people on here just need to settle down. They have the money they needed freed up so lets see if they pull off a trade or make an offer to either Bay or Holliday

  93. Lots of sky is falling sentiment on the blog today. I agree in a vacuum this is a crap deal, but some need to stop looking at this as Vazquez for Melky.

    Wren needed to shed salary, so he needed a team with space to add $12 million this year. He couldn’t trade Lowe, and I don’t think you can go into the season with 6 starters and use your remaining $7 million to try and fill 1B and LF. That’s not an option.

    I didn’t want to see Javy go but there was a pretty good chance he wasn’t going to have another year as good as this past one. I feel like we were watching him pitch the best he could pitch. Conversely I think we saw Lowe at his worst. Obviously we traded the better pitcher, but I don’t think the gap is as wide as it seemed last year. The money owed to Lowe is the real killer.

    So we got the best prospect we could. If the money saved gets spread out over Damon and Nady, then yes, this is a shite deal in every single way. But if somehow this is a precursor to a real hitter, then I can’t kill Wren.

  94. Last week I attended a season ticket holder luncheon attended by Frank Wren. After eating and a brief sales pitch, we were given the opportunity to ask Frank questions. It was a pretty cool deal. One of his answers may have given some insight (even if I didn’t realize it at the time) to a possible Javy deal. When discussing the necessity to deal one of the pitchers, he emphasized how much he liked the guarantee of Derek Lowe. He talked up his consistency. He then characterized Javy’s career as a bit of a roller coaster, riddled with peaks and valleys. With him, you roll the dice and hope you get the good Javy. I got the vibe that he wasn’t willing to wager his paycheck on Javy repeating his ’09 season. It wasn’t enough to make me believe that he was going to be the odd-man out but I do think that Frank was starting to realize that trading him was inevitable. He had moved on to justification.

    Who knows. I just wish this didn’t look like a salary dump. The attendance is already low enough without the appearance that we’re a feeder system for big boy teams.

    *The above are not direct quotes from Frank. Just want to make sure that was clear.

    He also mentioned that they’ve always wanted to sign JJ to a long-term deal. Two words have stood in the way of that actually happening: Scott Boras.

  95. Here’s a yankee fan’s perspective… mind you a lot of yank fans are furious at this deal. As much as we can get on Wren, I think Cashamn looks like a fool in this deal

    “So basically, we traded a coming into his prime Melky Cabrera for a horrible Randy Johnson and gave up four years of Vasquez’s prime”

  96. Only some Yankee fans are upset with this deal. They like Melky, mainly because he was home-grown & got some big hits last year, but they know they got a better player in return. So does Cashman.

    Also, the Yankees just opened up LF & they solved themselves some Hughes/Joba rotation drama.

  97. How many outfielders can we have on the roster? Don’t see Holliday or Bay unless we make another trade, and I don’t want to see another trade for a while. Unless it’s Lowe, for anything.

    Though I should note, Melky is not the kind of guy you can’t “sign over”, but he’s making too much to be a bench player IMO.

    None of the FA 1B options are going to cut it now. Laroche is best of the bunch, but I could see him coming back to earth and throwing up some average years. I think we need impact to compete in 2010.

    If Lowe shows any turnaround, we have to deal him. The next two offseasons of the painful and convoluted moves we’ll make so Wren doesn’t have to admit defeat on that deal could break the team again.

  98. Folks… Javy is a flash in the pan. Who in their right minds even thought for a second he was going to pitch like he did? There’s no guarentee at all Javy comes back with ATL next year and puts up anywhere near those numbers. I guess with all of you it’s what have you done for me lately. Indications point to that next year Lowe’s numbers will improve while Javy’s will drop. There is no doubt in my mind Lowe’s era will be under 4 next year, mark my words.

  99. Just got Braves e-mail:

    The Braves have finalized a deal that will bring the Yankees’ Melky Cabrera, lefty Mike Dunn and Minor League right-hander Arodys Vizcaino to the Braves for right-hander Javier Vazquez and left-hander Boone Logan. Cabrera, 25, gives the Braves outfield depth. A switch-hitter, Cabrera batted .274 with 13 homers and 68 RBIs while helping the Yankees claim their 27th World Series championship in 2009. He played in 154 games, mostly in center field, and started in 130 games. Cabrera will join Nate McLouth and Matt Diaz in the Braves’ outfield.

  100. In my view, Jon K, this trade was about four things: eating chicken wings, listening to metallica, drinking Keystone Light, and wanting to get into the stadium to scream as loud as you can.

  101. Sooo….Vizcaino, is he in or is he out?

    I only ask because the more I look around, the more confused I get. ESPN doesn’t have him listed in the deal, reuters does, DOB said no, DOB has since said yes? What’s going on here?

  102. I’m not sure it’s a good idea to count on Heyward this year. And I mean count on as in pencil him into a spot and assume we have him all year being productive. He probably needs another year in the minors, so our outfield isn’t really stacked. A Bay/Holliday, McLouth, Diaz-Melky platoon with Heyward getting to tear it up in triple AAA would put me more at ease.

    I’d take Nady for the right price at first and then in my fantasy world where all Braves prospects become all-stars in 2010 Heyward can ease out Diaz-Melky and Schaffer can replace McLouth and Freeman can take over at first and the Braves win the next five world series in a row and my hair grows back!

  103. As a Rangers fan, it sure looks like Atlanta just got taken to the cleaners. Surely the Rangers would have given a better package than that! Plus, we love trading with you guys :) Makes me sick to see the Yanks just trying to buy another pennant. Here’s hoping they fail big time next year!

  104. Stu

    Oh you mean being a passionate fan? Ahh something most of you GA born ATL fans are not. I’m a braves fan from up north but I gotta say, its pretty disgusting how you all support that team down there with the pathetic attendance year in and year out. For the most part, ATL is seen as one of (if not) the worst sports cities (with 4 major sports teams). And it’s not because of the teams performances, it’s because the fans in and around ATL just flat out don’t support the teams. So Stu, save me the agony of telling you flat out that your probably not a model fan.

  105. I was at lunch with my family and in-laws when my father-in-law reads of the tv behind me that the Braves made a deal with the Yankees. Makes sense to me — they could take on Lowe’s contract. Then he says something about Vazquez and I was surprised… I turned around and saw that it was for Melky Cabrera and was just stunned. There had to be something else to the deal, right?

    I used to be very optimistic about next year. I hope Wren has a good plan, because it doesn’t quite make sense yet.

  106. I was furious like everyone else when I read about this. But reading through these comments was like therapy and I’m almost at the acceptance phase.

    There’s still a gaping hole at 1B so I can’t help but think that we have a Miggy Cabrera/A Gonzalez type deal coming VERY soon.

  107. Much calmer now. Ok Frank a salary dump. No one dumb enough to take Lowe’s contract. I get it. Hopefully though you can do better than Melky, starting outfielder, Cabrera.

    Fearless prediction. We’ll get 2 count em two old, coming off injury or both players not just one. Yay!

    DeRosa Nady

  108. So I wake up, open this website, see the tagline of Melkylicious, and am thinking ‘No way, we got rid of Lowe for something semi-useful?’ And then I see they traded Vazquez, and my heart sank. This is not a cool trade, man.

  109. Everything I’m reading says even with the salary dump, we’re still out on Bay or Holliday. Apparently, dumping Vazquez is just enough to maybe bring back LaRoche and sign Nady and/or DeRosa.
    Is that anywhere near enough offense to compete with Philly?

  110. Timing may be another issue that forced this deal. All along I’ve been thinking, “even if we do trade Lowe to free up money, it may take too long for the money to be useful.” If Wren does have a trade or signing on the horizon, he may have needed to free up the money sooner rather than later, and that’s easier with Vazquez.

  111. Was I the only one who was amused by the email the Braves sent out entitled ‘Braves acquire Cabrera and Dunn.’ I wonder how many people clicked on that expecting Miguel and Adam. They should have just put ‘Braves acquire Arod(ys) from Yankees.’

    The point nearly everybody seems to forget is Vazquez could (and by all accounts would have) veto a trade out west. So there goes the Angels (or even the Dodgers) who perhaps would have been able to put a better offer. Wren’s hands were tied.

  112. Jay, good point. He had to blink first. Couldn’t make offers then hope that Lowe could be dumped.

    All in all I am understanding this more and more. But there is still a bad taste when you say we just traded Javy Vazquez for Melky Cabrera.

  113. I just can’t stand all the bullshit coming from the official site! We “netted” prospects. GREAT. We got an outfielder with “a championship to his belt”. GREAT. We got a hard-throwing pitching prospect. GREAT.

    But we LOST OUR ACE, IDIOTS!!!!! I don’t believe for one second that this is all we could have gotten for Vazquez. Also, I don’t believe for one second that there were no takers for Lowe. This deal doesn’t free more than, say, $8mil, and nobody is going to tell me that there are no takers out there for Lowe at $8mil!! F***k Cabrera, he’s an out machine and we don’t need him.

  114. Mac, join the dark side. It’s more fun.

    You are correct, Melky Cabrera was a seventh and eighth hole hitter in the Yankees line up. But just you wait and see, Cox will try to bat the dude in the lead off hole, and then we can all share a good laugh at the ineptness of our soon to be retired Hall of Fame manager.

    As it is, the Phillies trade Cliff Lee and three prospects for Roy Halliday an three prospects.

    Our Braves dump Vazquez for Melky Cabrera and two prospects which pretty much sums it up, don’t you think?

  115. The one good thing about the trade was that we got rid of Boone Logan–whom Wren insisted that we acquire with Javy last year…..

  116. Let me say first that I hate this deal. Seems if Vazquez was the one to move someone would’ve given up better than what we got for him even with the West Veto he had.

    But think about what a difference a year makes. I was higher on Vazquez to start 2009 than Lowe but not by a ton and many would’ve had Lowe higher. I don’t think it’s outside the realm of possibility for Lowe to be the better pitcher 2010 especially wity Javy in NY.

    All that said, the important thing will be what the $ gets spent on, assuming our budget is what it was last year and Wren has said it is.

  117. #157

    In defense of the crappy support that Atlanta sports teams often recieve, the city is built in a way that discourages high attendance.

    Take for example the 12 game win streak (or whatever it was 15 of 17 I think) that got the Braves within 2 games of the Rockies in the last week of the year. Now most cities would be pretty pumped about their team making such a run. However, in Atlanta the attention of most sports fans in the city had already turned to college football as the Braves appeared to be out of it. What’s more, the majority of people who live here are transplants from other cities. Not many people are 3rd or 4th generation fans like you see in Chicago or Boston. The level of passion for the team just isn’t quite there because there’s no tradition in it.

    Next take the geography of Atlanta itself. Most people who follow baseball do not live in the inner city and have to travel quite a ways to get to Turner Field. Turner Field itself is in a crappy part of town where there is no direct MARTA line, and the traffic getting there is generally terrible and often times unbearable. Say you work in Alpharetta and want to go to the game on a Tuesday. If you left work at 5, there’s a chance you make it to the game by 6:30. It’s quite the hassle to do and it makes the casual fan non commital about wanting to go to even important games like those down the stretch this year.

    This isn’t saying that Atlanta is actually a good sports town (it’s not) it’s just not as bad as it gets a wrap for because the city is so big and spread out it just takes a lot of effort to make it to a single game.

  118. @179,

    Excellent post. I went to a game at Turner last July or August and noticed the same thing.

  119. From Keith Law:

    The key player in this trade for Atlanta is Arodys Vizcaino, who becomes one of the top five prospects in the Braves’ system and gives them a trio of potential No. 1 or No. 2 starters in the low minors with Julio Teheran and Randall Delgado. Vizcaino, who pitched at short-season Staten Island this past season, has a live fastball that sits 91-93 mph and touches a little higher. He throws a curveball that flashes plus and should miss bats at the big league level when he reaches it. He already has good feel for pitching and just needs experience and a little cleanup in his delivery, as he often finds his arm slot drifting down, at which point he starts to sling the ball instead of just throwing it.

    The Braves also get a few years of control of Melky Cabrera, a capable fourth outfielder who can play an average center field and has a plus arm. I don’t think Cabrera has the offensive skills to play every day in a corner-outfield spot, particularly because of his willingness to expand the zone and chase pitches that most hitters wouldn’t consider. Atlanta could use him as a platoonmate for Matt Diaz, a right-handed hitter who has a 200-point career platoon split, or as a backup at all three outfield spots, playing him behind Diaz, Nate McLouth and — assuming he makes the club — Jason Heyward, the top prospect in baseball.

    It’s a salary dump, and one in which Atlanta is lucky to get a young pitcher as good as Vizcaino, who is among the top 100 prospects in the game.

  120. initial shock has worn off. I believe I was more pissed about having to keep Lowe than actually receiving Melky back for Vasquez. If this gives us enough money to go get a big bat, then ok. Im waiting to see how the funds are now used to improve the offense

  121. @169 – I thought the same thing. I saw the headline that said Braves acquire Cabrera & Dunn for Vazquez, and I immediately though Adam Dunn & Miguel Cabrera, and thought “Frank Wren must be a genius, how did he get both guys for Vazquez”. Should have known better…
    @182 – as awesome as it is to think about another “Smoltz” type acquisition, losing Vazquez and not getting more 2010-ready value hurts what most people thought would be a season for contending next year.

    I really wish they had money or ability to make a trade to acquire a big, difference-maker of a bat. Oh well

  122. Fuck this. I’m so glad this is a World Cup year so I’ll have something to distract me from the debacle that Braves baseball is becoming. First Chip, now this? It’s wonderful to be just another farm club for the Yankees.

  123. Uggla and Prado on the same IF could make for some ugly defense. Especially bad idea with groundballers Lowe and Hudson in the rotation.

  124. We don’t want to go near Uggla. He was worse offensively and defensively than Prado and will cost $7 million. Giving away the one good thing from this deal would be criminal.

    At least Rome’s rotation will be good, though, eh?

    We can’t really get rid of Lowe now though, can we? His deal will look even more ridiculous next winter against Beckett, Webb and all the others.

  125. DOB is trying to talk people off the cliff:

    A couple of hopeful stats about Melky: In 255 career at-bats as a leadoff hitter, he’s got a .290 average and .373 OBP. Easily his best results at any position in lineup.

    He’s had more than 1,100 of his 1,923 career at-bats in either the eighth or ninth spots, and hit .234 with a .288 OBP at No. 8 and .296 with a .338 OBP at No. 9.

    And with runners in scoring position, he hit .298 (39-for-131) with 10 extra-base hits last season. He has a .271 career average in 505 RISP at-bats.

    In close-and-late situations, he hit .304 (24-for-79) last season.

  126. Why is a “salary dump” ok?

    This isn’t Pittsburgh or Miami. If we’re going to compete with the Mets and Phillies, we can’t be forced into these Royalesque moves and I resent having sunshine pumped up my derrierre about it from the Braves FO.

  127. @182, gee, I guess we’re lucky to lick the boot then? Massa give us an A-ball pitcher! Lemme softshoe.

    Don’t worry. Anybody of any real worth will be purchased by the Yankees, Red Sox, Mets and Angels. The Yankees aren’t stopping at ripping us off-hahaha.

    Then the secondary worthwhile guys will go to Detroit, Seattle and the Dodgers. Perhaps Texas too. Oh, and Philly!

    That will leave us with a Raul Mondesi/Garrett Anderson/Xavier Nady/Johnny Damon/Mark DeRosa-type to spend our shiny $15 mil upon. Yay!

    Or we could just stack 15,000 $1000 bills on 1B and play Rockwell’s “Somebody’s Watching Me” over n’ over n’ over n’ over n’ over again on the ballpark speakers.. it would do just about as much for us. (ummm, y’all)

  128. I just don’t get the “thing” about Melky Cabrera. How is he any more special offensively than Matt Diaz?

  129. If Coach is back, I’m outta here. I would rather be locked in a room and forced to listen to Chip Caray than read his crap.

    Let’s not assume that Wren is a total moron. There has to be more to this than trading for a fourth outfielder. Keith Law actually seems relatively positive on this because of the prospect the Braves got back.

  130. Cooler head now. Have to think about it.
    Initial reaction: WTF! YOU HAVE TO BE KIDDING ME!!!!!! A top flight pitcher for what????

    Next Reaction: OK I get it! Salary dump! But YOU mean to tell me that Melky effing Cabrera is ALL that you could get!!!!!! Wren you ARE A DUMBASS!

    Upon Further reflection: Ok salary dump. Get a 4th outfielder, a cheaper LOOGY, and a top prospect AND you get out of the salary logjam that was preventing you from signing a hitter. OHHHHH Now I get it.

    Total Calm reaction: Ok Frank, good job with a weak hand. You converted 3/6 off suite into the potential for a bigger pot later. Now go out and get us a hitter or two.

    Lets face it folks as long as our payroll is south of 125 million salary exchanges like these will be the norm for the Braves.

    I don’t care a damn about Melky. DOB doesn’t need to quote statistical minutia about what amounts to a throw in for a salary dump. I am now anxious to see what we are REALLY getting with the flexibility afforded by the Vazquez trade.

  131. I wouldn’t care as much about Melky if I didn’t believe Cox will run him out there for 162.

  132. @ 190 – This may be mincing words, but I think you may view “salary dump” differently than it’s being used. Maybe we should be saying “clearing payroll.” The Braves aren’t just pocketing the money they saved by dealing Javy, they are (we hope, at least) saving money to use in other ways.

    @ 196 – “Page down” is your friend.

  133. At least Rome’s rotation will be good, though, eh?

    Hope so. Speaking of the Rome Braves, their 2009 offensive powerhouse Chais Fuller (and his mid .100s BA most of the season) has been released.

  134. Got a text from a Yankees fan this morning that read “treat him well in the atl.” I assumed we had signed Johnny Damon. I was displeased. I had no idea.

    But like RB4 said, reading the comments here was like therapy. It’s been a very calming half hour, especially the return of chicken wings and Keystone Light.

    I still don’t like this deal, though. I’d have rather gone into the season with KK in the bullpen and Vazquez starting on Opening Day than Melky leading off in the bottom of the first. We were very lucky to have such a healthy rotation last year. Now we’re one tweaked elbow from the return of Joseph Reyes.

    We’re going to have to get some pretty good offense to justify this…

  135. That’s not beyond the realm of possibility — TP does seem to do best with guys who are similar to him. But my guess is that Melky is a one-and-out, that he’ll put up his usual .330 OBP with medium power and get nontendered after the season.

  136. @182, re: 192, not intended to be a slap at Hiawatha Terrell Wade at all, by the way. In fact, I appreciate the posting–it’s interesting to see Law’s viewpoint.

    I respect Keith Law as a prospect guy. However, if Arodys makes the Majors in 3-4 years along with Teheran and Delgado and even if they all navigate the minors well and even if they are good in Atlanta (finally), that’s all well and good, but Chipper and BMac will be long gone, likely Escobar too. We’ll just have other holes then unless we’re extremely fortunate. And how long until they’re as good as Vazquez-Jurrjens-Hanson (nevermind Hudson-Lowe-Kawakami too)?

    There was an opportunity in place to compete NOW in 2010, but it was just given away for Willie Harris* and a shot at a good pitcher in the next decade.

    *Not to disparage Willie Harris. I love the guy, but he won’t be confused with a hot MLB property. I’d still take him on my team (in fact, as of this morning, I do. Go Nats!).

  137. brave fans: relax,

    First off we don’t know if vazquez was a fluke this past season. Nobody was going to take Derek Lowe and his 45 million dollar contract/3years. Even if some1 did take him we would have to pay a lot of it and probably get mid-level prospects.

    Yes we did lose our best sp; a durable, strikeout king who was marvalous for us this past year.

    What we got: A great defensive outfielder who can play all 3 positions(Do you remember having our backup shortstop in the outfield this year?) A guy who hustles and plays very hard. He’s also a baby(25 yrs old) and has time to grow. Very clutch hitter(won mlb top clutch player of the month in may) a guy who is very cheap and will be with us for at least 3 more years. He also has very good speed and runs the base’s very well. We also got two VERY good prospects in return.

    In the end it does suck in a way. Giving up Vazquez who was great for us at the top of our rotation. But given that nobody was going to take Lowe, this trade had to be done.

  138. Joe Pos took the trade harder than we did. Things tend to sting a little bit harder when you’ve just signed Jason Kendall, I guess.

    Well, Merry Christmas everybody. I’ve got to head down to the Kwik Pak store for a can of bean dip and some Diet Rite. There’s a kid who works down there who used to routinely hit 35 homers a year for the Sumter High School Gamecocks. He could compete with Mitch Jones for the first base job this year…

  139. One more thing: Vazquez was not likely to turn into a pumpkin this year. He might not pitch well for the Yankees, he might have choked for us in the playoffs, and his ERA might have ballooned up to 3.5. But he was pretty close to a sure bet (barring injury).

  140. Posnansky’s story is funny—the “gaping hole in LF” part, I mean.

    When you’re living in YankeeLand, it’s all relative, as in, “Hey, the Yanks haven’t won a World Series in a long time!

    The language does get fairly perverted around here.

  141. I second, well, everyone in here that this is an atrocious deal and I had also come around on Wren until the Soriano and now the Vazquez trades. Soriano was barely defensible, this is not.

    And to Mac’s point, doesn’t matter if Javy sucks in Yankee-land again. He was an ace in the NL, and an ace for us. He was our best chance to compete with Philly.

    So unless mediocre Melky is packaged for a stud, Frank Wren is a moron.

    As for Lowe, giving him away and eating 75% of contract would have been better.

    I’m effing disgusted.

  142. So unless mediocre Melky is packaged for a stud, Frank Wren is a moron.

    He was packaged with a cost-controlled left-handed reliever and a 19-year-old right-handed pitcher that immediately becomes one of our system’s top-5 prospects. I think that qualifies as stud.

  143. Mike @207. I’m relaxed. The more I think about it this was the first step in what is going to be a long process of improving the team. I didn’t think anyone was going to take Lowe. I wanted to keep JV but you have to give something to get something. I’m not as sanguine about Cabrera as you are so I’m just hoping the something we get is good.

  144. @ajcbraves: Scratch that Bay possibility for Braves. I was just assured that Braves are out of that pursuit.

  145. “By dealing Vazquez, and the $11.5 million he was set to earn in 2010, the Braves probably are in better position to retain Derek Lowe, who has been mentioned repeatedly in possible trade scenarios.”

    That sentence made me throw up in my mouth a little bit.

    Johnny, nice use of the word “sanguine.” Haven’t heard that one in ages.

  146. My dad sent me a text message about this deal this morning.

    I actually liked Frank Wren and most of the moves he’d made so far. I’ve been pretty positive about everything.

    But this deal literally made me feel sick. I just don’t understand it at all. I try to talk myself in to being so-so on it… But there is so much to hate.

    Melky is a worse baseball player than Jeff Francoeur. Vazquez was our best pitcher, and the only piece we had to trade for a real baseball player. Now he won’t pitch for us, and he won’t bring us a bat.

    I just feel sick.

  147. Melky Cabrera most similar batters through Age 24 season:

    1. Curt Flood (964)
    2. Lee Mazzilli (963)
    3. Johnny Damon (961)
    4. Les Mann (955)
    5. Jose Guillen (954)
    6. Junior Felix (954)
    7. Roy Howell (953)
    8. Jose Cardenal (952)
    9. Paul Blair (951)
    10. Max West (951)


  148. For the record I don’t think we want Bay butchering LF and eating payroll. He’s good but not long-term, big-money good. Holliday would be nice but also not for that money. One of two things is going to happen.

    1.) Wren trades for a real bat (acceptable but unlikely)

    2.) Wren spreads his newfound wealth on three “maybe” guys hoping at least two of them are hits (unacceptable and unf likely)

    Also please stop with this Vazquez fluke business. It may have been on the high side of what he is capable of, but the guy has been a quality pitcher for a long time. He will regress but the term fluke does not apply.

    Lastly Lowe is not a bad pitcher; he’s just not worth the money he’s making. There’s a difference. I still think he starts opening day.

  149. Apologies for the double post but…

    Melky is not worse than Francouer for the simple fact that Melky will not play 162. He’s a 4th OF/platoon mate. Also a better fielder than the artist formerly known as Jeffy.

    I bet Cox is all hot and bothered at the notion of sending Melky up there to bunt endlessly.

  150. This would have been a great trade if it was for Lowe.

    I guess best case now is that we trade Melky to the silent third party for a real middle infield prospect and get Bay as a FA.

    Come on, Miggy is not realistic.

  151. I agree numbers-wise that’s accurate. And it’s not like it matters who is the “number 1”. I just think Hanson at 5 makes it easier to keep an eye on innings. I think Lowe will start opening day because he’s a vet and because it would be a make-nice move by the organization.

  152. 230 might also make me okay with this deal.

    For the record, I expect what we do with our cleared payroll to be underwhelming.

  153. Sorry, but the small-mindedness that leads a man to say, “Frank Wren = Epic Fail,” disgusts the hell out of me.

    I’m glad idiots like Mark Bradley aren’t in front offices of baseball. In his time as GM, Wren has been one of the most solid managers of personnel in all of baseball.

    Only time can judge this trade. Right now, it’s incredibly irresponsible for people to assassinate the man and trash his performance on the job for a single trade.

    For one year of Vazquez, whose history on the mound is nothing short of a roller coaster, this deal is FAIR. If it weren’t, do you really think Wren really turned down “better” offers? No, because there were none.

    The Braves had to free up salary and trading Derek Lowe was not going to get that done. For a year of a Vazquez, I feel like this trade is a fair swap of talent.

  154. i know i coming in on this WAY late, but why were the the Braves so desperate to move one of our starters? Yes Lowe was border line awful last season and yes Javi only had 1 year left on his deal but if you don’t get a offer you like it seems that you just hold on to your guys til you get one you do like. Teams are always scrambling to replace pitchers that get hurt at the beginning of the season. Why not wait for when the Yanks or the Sox ( or anybody for that matter) really need someone instead of just dumping your talent for cheep bench players?

  155. Melky and Franny both had .313 wOBA in 2009.

    Melky also played in the Yanks little league park.

    Gloom and doom.

  156. Mark Bradley is a moron and should not be the basis for anyone’s argument.

    Not to say that I like the trade, though if Bradley thinks it’s a bad deal then it’s probably a great deal.

  157. sdp – I do not see how you can judge this a FAIR deal. It is poor at best.

    I think third parties like Posnanski can best define trades from an objective perspective. The unbiased view overwhelmingly believes the Braves got fleeced.

  158. yankee fans dont like it and the braves fans dont like it, mark bradley hates it…..it must have been a pretty fair offer

    fangraphs and Law both think it was a good deal for Atl

  159. I’m watching the MLB network hot stove show right now, and lets just say it’s not going well for our Braves.

    The Yankees are getting congratulated left and right while the Braves are getting questioned and second guessed.

    Brian Cashman was on the phone talking the the guys and so far, Frank Wren is nowhere to be found.

  160. please let’s leave Yankees fans out of this. You can cherry pick a few who hate it, fine, but most are probably fine with it. Meanwhile, every friend of mine who roots for an AL team sent me a Wren-directed-hate-filled text today. Can’t say I blame them, nor can I say I feel any differently. Wren’s explanation that Melky Cabrera is a “perfect fit” is the real-world equivalent of having someone speak to you in baby talk.

    Also, if the Braves have dumped one of their six starters, how are they going to land a Miguel Cabrera or Adrian Gonzalez-type 1B? Seriously. The Tigers and Padres, or the Brewers for that matter, would be insane not to demand Jurrjens as the starting point in negotiation, and now that Wren has panicked–again–that can’t happen.

  161. Don’t remember the series of events last year: how long did Wren wait to make a big signing after the Smoltz debacle? He must know that people are upset.

  162. @242 Actually, what’s interesting is how few folks have mentioned the bizarre timing of this move. It STINKS of desperation, but we’re not even in January yet! There are one of three possible explanations for this move to be done now.

    (1) Wren simply liked the deal, which–considering they re-upped on Bobby for one more year, have Chipper for maybe only one more year, and are clearly treating 2010 as a year to contend–is remarkably stupid. The argument for this move is that it may help longterm, but not for 2010.

    (2) Salary dump. It’s possible that Wren needed suddenly to clear payroll for reasons other than making room for another player. That is, it’s possible he needed to dump salary, and dumping Vazquez was a much easier and more fruitful thing to do than dumping Lowe. I have no idea why it would be a true salary dump, but the inability to wait for the market to develop makes me wonder.

    (3) It’s part of a larger set of moves that will land a big bat. People here have argued this is a possibility, but I think it’s wishful thinking. I could be wrong, and I hope I am, but it strikes me as unlikely that the Braves will be able to acquire a big salary without giving up a package that includes, say, Jurrjens. I say this because we know they’re out of the Holliday/Bay sweeps, so landing a big bat–and big salary–would have to come through trade. I just don’t see the Braves nabbing A Gonzalez/Miguel Cabrera without giving up so much that, when added to the Vazquez deal, they come out losers.

  163. Yankees fans don’t like it because Vazquez sucked for them a few years back (and because Melky is a funny name – if Melky Cabrera was exactly the same, just named Joe Smith, would he have stuck around on the roster? A point to ponder.).

    It wouldn’t be a shock to see Vazquez struggle (relatively) in a Yankee uniform again. However, that should have no impact on our valuation of him, because he had no obligation to pitch for the Yankees until today. The fact that he might struggle in the Bronx shouldn’t make getting a sub-par package for him alright. It’s just a poor justification.

    To use an extreme example, what if the Yankees plug Vaz in LF? He would be horrible in the field, so I guess, by example, a AAAA reliever would be a fair return if we sent them several million along with Vaz? Vazquez’s value to the 2010 Braves should be evaluated by how he would pitch for us (i.e., good), not by how he pitches for the Yankees.

  164. Lewis Black mode: ON
    Warning: may contain foul language

    Well, Melky Cabrera. You see, he’s the kind of player that, frankly, youlosewith. Unless of course, you happen to surround him with Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter. Then, everything’s GREAT! which is nice.

    We don’t have, um, a batter of that caliber,blbbub, at the moment. We had a pitcher that good AND WE TRADED HIM FOR MELKY CABRERAAAAAAA!!! Holy shit! We’re fucked! We are FUCKED!!

    I don’t.. I d.. eh.. (long pause; drink water) I can not comprehend the stupidity that would lead one to make this trade. It is beyond the pale. What kind of an asshole trades a Cy Young caliber pitcher for a 4th outfielder? Who?! You might just as well have walked up to Theo Epstein, GM of the Boston Red Sox, knocked on his door.. and given him the finger. Up yours, Theo! Try competing with THAT!! Aaahahaha. Be sure to say it, in such a way, that you actually spit in his face.

    Then walk to the next team’s ballpark and do it all over again. You might want to go straight to the owner in Baltimore. I hear he’s a peach.

    Lewis Black mode: OFF

  165. Ok, ok, if everyone in the world hates this deal I’m going to argue for it. That’s the ticket.

  166. I think this deal will free up the appropriate amount of cash to insure that the Braves can keep Bobby Cox around in a consulting role for life! It hardly needs to be said what a great boon for the organization that will be!

  167. I will say that I am curious to see how Melky will do outside of the Bronx. NY and Pittsburgh (maybe KC as well) are a couple of situations where I could see a player putting up different stats than they would in other environments – NY for the scrutiny and Pittsburgh for the stench of losing.

    I don’t know if that’s ever been studied though, and it’s definitely anecdotal and intangible. Just a small bright side; it shouldn’t be hard to put up representative numbers in Atlanta, especially after that rough patch a couple years back (the Buddy Carlyle era? I know, unfair).

    Oh wait, I just saw that a Yankee fan always “had a good feeling when Melky was at bat late”. Why did no one notify me of this? Completely changes my opinion of the deal.

  168. @249 at least the MLB Network included the Braves in the discussion. Sportscenter basically did 10 minutes on the Yankees and forgot another major league organization was involved. Big surprise.

  169. Well, it’s hard to see how a major league organization would trade one of the best pitchers in the league for a fourth outfielder, a LOOGY in the making, and an A-ball prospect, so it’s not surprising that ESPN was a bit confused.

  170. I am liking Vizcaino more the more I read about him; however, I would have liked this deal a lot better if we had gotten another nice prospect (Romine?) instead of Melky.

  171. It’s not the end of the world, but it’s seriously dampened our chance to contend in 2010.

    What’s the best case scenario now from the free agent market? I doubt we could afford both LaRoche and Damon. Maybe LaRoche and Nady?

  172. DOB suggests the money could go towards trading for Gonzalez from the Padres. If that happens (and it won’t), I’ll talk back anything negative I said about this trade.

  173. This trade is really just a salary dump. We get 2 live arms and a 4th outfielder. Like someone said earlier, I would have been happier if it was Lowe instead of Vazquez with the same return.

    It really depends on what Wren does with this money that determines if we can win the division.

  174. @266

    Who would we use to trade for him? And if the answer is Jurrjens, we might as well have not done anything at all. And why wouldn’t we just trade Vazquez for Gonzalez straight up? And if the answer is that the Padres want to dump salary, why not trade him to them anyway allowing them to trade him for prospects? Or why wouldn’t we try to put a multiple-team deal together? We’ve pretty much left ourselves now without our biggest trade chip. It’s possible they’ll take Freeman as the biggest piece of the trade and call it a day with a few throw-ins, and I would absolutely take that deal, but it seems like they would be able to get better offers than that.

  175. Well we are in trouble … couldnt keep it quite that we wanted to trade Lowe instead .. he gets offended which will cause him not give a rats ass this year .. we get another mediocre Outfielder with no power … i guess the pitching prospect that we got has us pointing to 2012 … so lets take a couple years off and come back in 2012 .. with the pitcher we got , Heyward , and some other highly rated prospects .. we will be Chipperless … one thing we dont have and dont look like we will have is POWER … the teams that win have POWER .. Yanks, Bosox , Phillies, Cards … Braves ?? We are weak period …..

  176. Reportedly, Dayton Moore just developed a keen desire for Melky Cabrera.

    Melky for Billy Butler?

    Make it happen, Frank! It’s your only path to salvation.

  177. Umm, Lowe was offended so he will purposely play like crap all year? That’s insane. Also A-Gon would not be a salary dump by the Padres. He doesn’t even make that much money. They’d just be trading him at his peak value because they won’t be able to afford him when he’s a FA in two years.

    The Braves are one of the few teams with the prospect stockpile to get the Padres to pick up the phone, but I shudder to think what that final package would have to look like.

  178. I just got up and am still angry….I have always liked Melky better than most; in fact, I think he will have an ok year for the Braves…..Nonetheless, this deal is terrible for a variety of reasons which have been mentioned here….My hope is that Wren will package some players (which would have to include Freeman, Melkey and probably Schafer and a top pitching prospect) and trade for Adrian Gonzalez and then sign Nady…..

    My fear, however, is that there is no ‘big deal’ coming. Instead, the Braves have less to spend than we thought and so just like the 2009 Draft (in which the Braves passed on a number of well regarded players to sign little known Juco playerw who cost much less) the organization was out to save money. It should have surprised no one that Lowe was hard to move because of his price. After all, who in their right minds would want to give him 45 million for three years? Therefore, Javy had to go and we traded and we keep paying for Lowe. This deal aptly illustrates the real cost of a medium market team getting locked into paying an excessive salary to a slightly better than average pitcher. Braves’ fans may yet become nostalgic for the days of Mike Hampton…..

  179. Not Since Todd Zeile… | Tim Marchman

    Not since Mitchell and Gould has there been a match between correspondent and subject like that on display in this priceless meeting between afffable Metsblog dude Matthew Cerrone and affable Mets right fielder Jeff Francoeur. I’ll leave out the parts where Francoeur talks on base average because what can you possibly say that his agent hasn’t already tried to explain with hand puppets and pictograms, but this is where my brain started leaking out of my nose:

    Matthew Cerrone: Can you give me an example of a player, whether with the Braves or the Mets, that you played with, that fans might not value because we don’t see it, but it was something you saw in that person?

    Jeff Francoeur: For instance, one of my closest buddies in baseball, Mark DeRosa, you watch him and what he does in Chicago. I mean, look at what happened in Chicago this year, when guys like DeRosa and Kerry Wood were gone. It wasn’t that much different of a team, it was almost the same guys from before, if anything they thought they upgraded. My point is, you ask guys like Derrek Lee, ask him who’s the heart and soul of that team, and they’ll tell you it was DeRosa and Wood and they let them go.

    What happened on the North Side was that the pothead catcher scored 27 runs, the $180 m left fielder reached base 30 per cent of the time, the third baseman missed half of the year, Milton Bradley was Milton Bradley, etc, leading to them scoring 150 fewer runs than they did before and not coincidentally winning 14 fewer games. They could have used DeRosa but that’s because he’s not Mike Fontenot, not because Derrek Lee (of all people) needs him and a pitcher who can only pitch on alternate vernal equinoxes to be around to do his best. It’s one thing for the drunk guy sneaking a smoke in the concourse behind third at Wrigley to think utility infielders have magical powers to keep Aramis Ramirez from injuring himself and Milton Bradley from being Milton Bradley, but Francoeur is (nominally) a major league player and can be expected to have noticed that $16 m worth of the Cubs’ heart and soul bought Cleveland 97 losses. Christ, even Nuke LaLoosh caught on that the bullshit Crash Davis was teaching him to spout was bullshit; Francoeur seems to actually believe this stuff.

  180. Nope. Not happening.

    I kinda hoped a little time would make me feel somewhat better about this abortion, but no.

    It is incomprehensible! Giving up Vasquez is one thing. Giving him up for a guy I don’t want anywhere near a Braves uniform is something else. (And Cox will play him every freaking day and we’ll start the year 30-30 and never really contend.)

    Damn you, Frank Wren! Once again, the Braves FO shows the uncanny ability to misread talent and fit.

    End of the world? Nah, just the end of the season. In December.

    Dear God, please let Mr. Blanc buy this team and run these amateurs out of town!

  181. Once again, the Braves FO shows the uncanny ability to misread talent

    Dude, that’s silly, the Braves are the best in the business at talent evaluation….

    Well, it’s hard to see how a major league organization would trade one of the best pitchers in the league for a fourth outfielder, a LOOGY in the making, and an A-ball prospect, so it’s not surprising that ESPN was a bit confused.

    Please. Vazquez had 1 year left on his contract and he was only paid slightly less than the market values him to begin with. There’s only so much surplus value you can get out of a guy who has 6+ service years and 1 year left on his contract.

    84 said it best. The Braves got more for Vazquez than the Phillies did for Lee, an arguably superior left-handed pitcher making $2.5 million less than Vazquez.

  182. The two most useless justifications/arguments today:

    1) Vazquez is going to be crappy with the Yankees/some Yankees fans do not like this deal

    –It doesn’t matter at all what Vazquez does in New York. He was excellent in Atlanta and was likely to be a good/great pitcher this year for us until The Melkpocalypse. Some NY Yankee fans only remember when Vazquez was there before and expect to see the same thing. In related news, some Yankee fans are idiots. (This is not actually news.)

    2) The Braves got more for Vazquez than the Phillies did for Cliff Lee.

    –Setting aside for the moment whether this is even actually true or not, what kind of an argument is this?! First, it completely ignores that the Phillies used the trade to upgrade from Lee to Roy Halladay, which is, um, kinda important in the valuation. Second, even on its own, just because Team A makes a shitty trade, it does not follow that Team B is justified in making another shitty trade. That’s patently ridiculous.

    So let’s just discard these bits of foolishness, shall we.

  183. First, it completely ignores that the Phillies used the trade to upgrade from Lee to Roy Halladay, which is, um, kinda important in the valuation.

    No it isn’t.

  184. @ 280, I agree with Peter agreeing with me @ 84!

    Seriously, I have backed off the hate on this one, too. We didn’t trade Hanson or Heyward, but a guy with 1 year left on his contract. We did not trade the future of the organization. Peter’s transaction analysis and JC’s comments should be required reading for angry Braves fan’s right now.

    This deal, if taken alone, makes us worse for 2010. But that’s only for the moment. There are ways that the money saved on this deal makes the Braves better for 2010, and we’ve got to wait to see if that’s how the money is spent. So let’s wait before we fire Frank.

  185. #275 … you dont think by Lowe taking offense to trade talk and his feelings towards front office and Cox about not being called about possible trades will affect his play ?? what planet did you come from .. sure it will affect his play .. either he will try to prove all wrong or he will say screw it .. let them pay me for the next 3 years and retire .. Braves should have known nobody was gonna jump at getting Lowe .. so looks like Jurrgins and Hanson will have to carry the front end with a disgruntled Lowe, a still not sure of health Hudson and a over priced KK on the end of rotation … if we had some Power to offset some of the starter shortcomings then we could expect to give the Phiilies a run .. but now wildcard doesnt even look good … Hope Wren hassomething else up his sleeve .. maybe a call to Lowe to say we never considered trading you !!!!!!!

  186. I hated the fact that Wren couldn’t unload Lowe, but I think the return is all right for Javy. We didn’t get the return like Rangers got from us for Tex, but I don’t think we got fleeced. Remember Javy only has one more year of contract on him.

    It sucks that we can’t keep Javy, we better pick up someone good on the offensive side to make that up. I still can’t believe we couldn’t unload Lowe…

  187. @283, ????

    Let me understand your viewpoint. Perhaps I’m wrong.

    You do not believe that the Phillies’ damn near binary trade with Toronto that netted Roy Halladay should be considered when evaluating the trade of Cliff Lee to Seattle for prospects. That is your stance, correct?

    To restate, this stance would argue that trades should be considered on their own merits, independent of other moves. Is that what you mean to say?

    If you think that a trade should be considered independent of other moves, you completely cut off the principal means to salvation for this move as it simply becomes a talent trade of Javier Vazquez and Boone Logan for Melky Cabrera, Mike Dunn and Arodys Vizcaino.

    You would then not be able to consider the money saved because that only has value with subsequent signings and/or trades.

    I’m going to read JC’s and your analysis and check back (thanks Jay @284). This could be an interesting discussion.

  188. Cary–I hope that you and JC are right about ‘other moves’. However, given the way the Braves behaved in June with the draft, it would not surprise me if the organization has less to spend that we might like to believe. Maybe Javy was moved to resign LaRoche…..

  189. Count me as one of the skeptical ones that a “big” move is coming. But… what would it take to get Cabrera or Gonzalez? Would the Tigers/Padres take a package without Hanson, Jurrjens, or Heyward?

  190. 288,
    Yes, that’s what I believe, that the moves should be viewed in isolation. It’s obviously important to consider cotext of any move, but the fact that one move led to another doesn’t make it more valuable in a vacuum.

  191. 1. We were backed into a corner and every GM knew it. Trading Lowe without eating salary was not going to happen. All indications show that the Braves were not interested in eating too much salary. Not saying that is a good stance, just stating the obvious. Even if a team did take Lowe and most of his salary, we would have received almost nothing significant in return. Do you people think a GM is going to just take Derek Lowe, most of his salary, and then give us the 25 HR bat we covet?

    2. With every GM knowing this, the only sensible move was to trade Vazquez. Unless you think we should trade Hanson or JJ. Or trade Kawakami, except his situation is similar to Lowe’s.

    3. So we established that Lowe and his contract are unmovable. Did I mention that Vazquez had a no trade clause to the west coast? So about 1/3 of the teams in baseball are instantly eliminated. Great.

    4. Vazquez is under contract for one more year. Do you think a team is going to give us much for what could be only one year?

    5. FINAL THOUGHTS. Everyone on this forum needs to have their shoe laces confiscated, at least for now. If Wren does not make a move the rest of the off-season, then we should begin registering domain names that include the words WREN and FIRE. But to get a better deal than the Phillies received for Lee, all while being backed into a corner, I’d call this a modest success. If you want to be complain about Wren, then complain about the signing of Lowe in the first place. Yes, notice I said MODEST. Anyway, let the irrational whining continue.

  192. 291—I doubt Gonzalez could be acquired sans one of those three, but I suspect that Cabrera probably could, given the massive amount of money he’s still owed.

    The trio I proposed earlier—McLouth, Freeman, and Vizcaino—would be a pretty good haul for Cabrera, from the Tigers’ perspective, I would think.

    Note: I have no reason to believe the Braves are interested in a $20-million player who may have a drinking problem. But that’s the sort of wild hope I’m clinging to before totally giving up on Frank Wren. LaRoche and Nady won’t cut it.

  193. I would have been happier with the Yankee’s 10th best prospect than Cabrera. The thing about the 10th best prospect is that he wouldn’t be asked to play an important role this season. Melky will be in a very crucial role and will provide below average work. About all he offers over Church is a little more speed and durability.

  194. Just got back from Avatar in IMAX 3D. Really good, and I never thought I’d say that about giant mutant smurfs on roids. The effects are getting so realistic it’s almost scary.

    The only way I think the Braves could salvage this with free agency is to get LaRoche and Damon, but we probably don’t have the cash.

    Do something Wren…

  195. I would hope that an offer of Freeman, Bethancourt and either Teheran or Delgado would at least get us in the conversation for Gonzalez.

  196. @287 If the dodgers can unload Pierre, I wonder why we can’t offload Lowe…but I guess there is only one Kenny Williams.

    This is not the end of the world, but this still sucks. All we can hope for now is a better season from Lowe and Wren finding the offense we need to compensate the loss of Javy.

  197. I’ve had a night to sleep on this trade, and while I don’t like it, I’m willing to move on.

    Some thoughts: Lowe may have been a better choice for the Yankees than Vasquez. The new Yankee stadium will be a much tougher place for Vasquez to pitch than Atlanta. Vasquez was more valuable to the Braves than he will be for the Yankees.

    Wren’s lack of patience contributed to this situation. It has been said that he was dealing from a position of weakness, while I think he was dealing with a strong hand. Everybody wants the commodities he has. The point is they don’t have to have them today. They need them in April, or later. Wren felt he had to make a deal today. He put himself in a weak position and sold Vasquez too low.

    The Braves got a couple of pitching prospects that may pan out, and Wren may pick up Jayson Werth for Blanco next week. The trade may look pretty good in a few years.

  198. I’ve now slept over it. While I though late last night that I was able to move on, that I had accepted it. I feel even worse today!!
    This deal really sucks. Why, oh why would Wren not wait some more? Why did he have to hurry this trade. It’s not like the Yankees would not take JV in February if offered. It’s not like we wouldn’t have found another trade partner just to dump the salary. Why rush, Wren?
    He keeps doing it! I am not happy! This is not what you’re supposed to do at chrismas time.

  199. I don’t see how anyone could argue that the Braves got any more for Vaz than the Mariners did for Lee. The Phils got three good performers at High-A who were all young for the level. The Braves basically swapped Logan for Dunn, then got Cabrera (who is a non-tender candidate) and one high-upside prospect (according to “they”) who’s still in short-season ball. I would much rather have gotten what the Phils did over this package.

  200. Timo, I agree with you there about the apparent rush job on the trade.

    After watching Melky as a New Yorker the last few years I just dont like him.
    He is young and could hit his stride, but the way I am looking at the situation is that we did not get better right now with this trade.
    Now maybe the prospect will be great but I hate trading for prospects, I like getting players back and I am not sold Melky is a full time guy, I hope he proves me wrong.
    Oh well, prove us wrong Frank.

  201. As noted far more eloquently by JC and PWHjort over at their blogs it isn’t about Melky, Dunn or Vizcaino. Its about who we sign with the money saved by not paying JV. Thats where the rubber will meet the road. And as someone said earlier this shouldn’t be construed as a ‘salary dump’ although thats what I’ve been calling it but more like adjusting payroll for future acquisition. Unless that is it turns out to be just a salary dump, then let the outrage begin a new.

  202. 298—Well, we could’ve unloaded Lowe if we’d been willing to pay over half of his remaining salary, as the Dodgers did with Pierre.

  203. Id rather keep Lowe then trade him and still have to pay $20 mil over 3 years to someone else. Best case scenario Lowe bounces back and he’s able to get moved next offseason, Javier gets shelled in that little league park and his value drops a lot and we can resign for a cheaper figure

  204. Adam R,
    thanx for the link, it makes me slightly less ill to hear Wren say that the Braves are not counting on Melky to hit, and that they are still searching for right handed power.
    I guess there is still hope.

  205. One aspect of this that could be a positive:

    McLouth has more power than Melky. IF Melky can lead off effectively, that would allow moving Mclouth into a slot where he could drive in more runs. (I know I said IF)

  206. JC – Agreed, the Phils did get more for Lee.

    In fact, replace Melky with just one “on-the-radar” prospect and this deal smells a lot better to me. Instead, we got a worse version (offensively, at least) of Ryan Church, a player we were willing to let go for nothing.

    I’m back from the ledge. I like Vizcaino, but this is still a crappy trade.

  207. @292, P.W., my holiday work/travel preparations are stalling my reply, but I hope to post later today and see what you think. Great write-up, by the way, but I have some questions.

    @304, Johnny, one of the main problems that those of us attacking the trade see is that there are no available free agents worthy of replacing JV’s value to the 2010 Braves, and more than that none even close whom the Braves seem likely to sign (i.e. probably not Bay or Holliday–recognized as the best available free agent bats). A trade would cost more talent on top of JV and certainly may not even be an option.

    It seems to us as though those counseling patience are waiting for something that will not come, an impact deal, and are thus left waiting for Godot. Not good.

  208. If this is all that happens, I will agree that it’s a disaster and Wren should be fired. But I don’t think it is unless you think Wren is completely insane. Let’s see the other shoe drop before we jump off the roof. As for the Yankees, who cares if it makes them better? The point is not to screw the yankees but to make the Braves better.

    Everybody was ready to slit their throats last winter after Wren’s initial moves, but it turned out ok (and people weren’t all that excited about getting Vazquez). Let’s just see what happens. As for the prospects, I realize that prospects are just prospects, but Tommy Hanson was an A-ball pitcher at one time too. Everyone complains about the Braves mortaging the future, but when they get a top prospect, people denigrate it.

    There are still two months until spring training. Let’s see what happens. I can’t believe they opened up salary space just to pocket it or give it all to Derek Lowe. There has got to be something else going on.

    As for having Blank (not Blanc–he isn’t the voice of Bugs Bunny) buy the team, I haven’t seen the Falcons winning Superbowls lately.

  209. JC @302, I’m not sure I’m reading your post right (I think you had a typo there with Mariners instead of Phils in the first sentence).

    I thought the Phils gave up 3 prospects and got 3 prospects as well as the upgrade/extension going from Lee to Halladay… Which seems like a pretty good deal for them (though I don’t know how the prospects sent and received compare)… The M’s gave up prospects for a year of Lee (reasonable for them if they’re hoping to compete in 2010). Blue Jays gave up Doc (in a division they couldn’t win and likely couldn’t take WC for a couple years) for prospects. Did I miss anything there?

    I think you could safely argue the ability to sign Doc for an extra few years is certainly worth more than Melky… but I guess it really is going to be an unknown result until we see where the money from JV gets spent.

  210. I would love to see us get Adrian Gonzalez (however small the chances are), but if we did, I don’t think Freeman would be included in the deal. Gonzalez has two years on his contract and would most likely be a two year rental. I don’t believe the Braves will fall into the trap of getting a 1B rental again without a plan for his replacement. There would be no guarantee that Gonzalez would sign a contract extension, and if not, we’d be hosed – again.

  211. re: 316. Yes, that should be what the Phils got for Lee, not the Mariners. Also, the Halladay and Lee deals were really two separate deals, so I was just looking at the one.

  212. As atlanta fans throw a hissy fit over the trade yesterday like 4 year old girls, the next day Wren continues making moves in signing Glaus. Sometimes you just gotta keep your mouth shut and wait til it all pans out

  213. Marc, I am certainly not denigrating the acquisition of Vizcaino, rather the incredibly average Melky Cabrera.

    If you replace Melky with Romine (for example), I like this deal a lot more.

  214. It’s hard for me to get too excited about Glaus considering he played 14 games last year. I guess any other impact first baseman (Gonzalez) is out of the picture with this move.

  215. I listened to to the Wren interview and he did not sound defensive at all. It was clear that this was not the end and that he had other things in mind. If it’s Glaus, that’s not bad at all and the Braves still have enough pitching. The Phillies didn’t really improve by trading Lee for Halladay; they really stayed about the same, but the Braves overall rotation is probably still better. People might end up praising Wren for this in the long run if he comes up with a right-handed power bat. The fact is, it’s hard to get equal value for a top player. People were saying, what’s the hurry? Well, the hurry is, if you wait, you lose other opportunities. The point of building a roster is not to maximize the trade value for each and every player but to put the best overall team together. Whether Wren has done this (assuming that Glaus is for real) remains to be seen, but I think you have to let these things play out and not assume that he is the village idiot.

  216. Fearless prediction. One year deal @ 5 MM with club option. Frank better pray that he stays healthy or Freeman blows up though. No depth there at all….

    Smells like we’re going after Damon. Should fit moneywise anyway.

  217. @323,


    I wasn’t really referring to you specifically but to the comments generally to the effect of, A-ball prospect, so what? My point is that it’s not as if there is no value at all. Vizcaino might be the next Neftali Perez (or, admittedly, he could be the next Oliver Perez).

    Obviously, if you look at it as Javy for Melky, it’s a horrible trade, but clearly that’s not what it’s about.


    Getting A. Gonzalez would require giving up significant prospects for two years Gonzalez. I don’t see why you would do that.

  218. For this year’s team, we’ve lost our best pitcher from last year and replaced him with a slight upgrade over Garrett Anderson in left. We’ve got Hudson instead of Vazquez now, which is a wash imo.

    We’ve made a slight upgrade over LaRoche at first, but injury questions make this a wash.

    We’ve lost our two best relievers and replaced them with solid older guys – probably resulting in a slight downgrade.

    I’m usually very positive about things, but the fact is, so far our moves have been underwhelming to say the least. Unless Chipper, Lowe and a few others have a lot better year than last year we are not a better team at this point.

  219. @321, Ha!

    Even a 4 year old girl would realize that an injury case like Troy Glaus [bulging disc in back (chronic), shoulder damage (Jan’09 surgery), oblique strain (Sept’09)] is not even worth cracking a Keystone Light or thumbing through your Metallica CDs in anticipation.

    For 2010 Braves, Javier Vazquez > Melky Cabrera + Troy Glaus

  220. DOB:
    @ajcbraves: Braves studied Glaus’ medical records closely in recent weeks, determined his surgically repaired shoulder is fit. Deal sounds imminent.

  221. We were backed into a corner and every GM knew it.

    I dispute this. Any “corner” was self imposed, and this deal was done far too early to even let a market develop for Vazquez/Lowe. Injuries during spring training, other free agent acquisitions, and even waiting until the trading deadline all would change the landscape tremendously. This isn’t a crippling move by any stretch, but it’s a hasty one no matter how you slice it. It may well have been driven by payroll inflexibility from Liberty, but that doesn’t make it any better.

  222. If Hudson stays healthy and gets back to Hudson form, that replaces 90% of 2009 Vazquez. Lowe’s bounce back replaces the other 10%, maybe Hanson improves proportionally to Jurrjens’ regression, plus we get a Kawakami that has now held an American baseball and witnessed the strikezone for a whole season. That’s a ton of ifs, but I have no doubt that a scenario exists in which our pitching staff maintains or even improves on last year’s performance level, even without Vazquez. Now, we also have the significant risk of Glaus not being back from his shoulder injuries, and Wagner/Saito decomposing in front of our eyes. This is some combination of pushing all in for 2010 with several high risk/high reward guys while not screwing things up for the 2012/2013 Jurrjens/Hanson/Heyward run. That at least seems like a plan.

  223. I hope the guys who studied Glaus’ medical records aren’t the same guys who studied Craig Wilson’s records in 2007. (-;

  224. I’m fartehr from the edge, too, but I’m with Cary:

    For 2010 Braves, Javier Vazquez > Melky Cabrera + Troy Glaus

    I’m not really in favor of signing Damon, though I agree that it looks like that’s where we’re headed.

  225. Hopefully Wren has Glaus sign the contract with his left hand so he won’t reinjure his right shoulder. Glaus is going to need that right shoulder for the 50 games he plays this season.

  226. Cary – Though I appreciate the panache with which you present your assessment, I like the Glaus acquisition.

    Marc, my point is that a B-level prospect is preferable to the inclusion of a redundant, possibly inferior piece for the Major League team.

    TD – That makes us a contender.

  227. PeteOrr

    Good post. Equally, whose to say Javy would have come back next year and put up the same numbers? People seem to have already come to the conclusion that he was going to put up ace like numbers next year. Nothing is in the bag before the season starts. That’s why they play the game. Whose to say Lowe won’t pitch like he did 08 where he posted a 3.24 ERA? It’s all what if’s

  228. Does a Nady acquisition make more sense now than Damon? Can play the outfield and back up a fragile Glaus.

  229. I don’t get signing Johnny Damon. With Heyward we now have 4 outfielders in place plus Infante. I don’t think it will be DeRosa, but we need someone that can play first and a few other positions much more than we need a 5th outfielder.

  230. For 2010 Braves, Javier Vazquez > Melky Cabrera + Troy Glaus

    Can’t say I disagree but

    Braves+JV and Prado at first, Infante at second and Diaz/Nate/Heyward < Braves+Glaus+Melky. I think.

    Glaus is a decent gamble. I like him a hell of a lot better than Nady. Now go out and sign an outfielder. DeRosa? Nady? Damon?

    Stu – obviously we did. Can’t even buy a damaged 3b unless we trade JV. Its clear to me that dumping Lowe was the first option then unloading Javy if there were no takers for Lowe. But nothing could be done until one of those salaries was off the books.

  231. 2005 – 37HR 97RBI
    2006 – 38HR 104RBI
    2007 – injured 20HR in 385AB
    2008 – 27HR 99RBI
    2009 – shoulder surgery

    I like this kind of a move. The guy is 33 and isnt done yet. When healthy he hits and walks a lot. Give him a one yr deal to prove to the big market teams that he’s due one more big time contract. Let him earn his incentives

  232. I know y’all are gonna say that I can’t get over my KJ fixation but I’d rather try to re sign him than Nady, DeRosa, or Damon.

  233. #341 – Stu, I think we had to move a starter/payroll. Im guessing clearing KK salary would have but I guess that wasnt an option

  234. Derosa would now be a better fit than Nady. Dont need one injury prone guy to back up another. Derosa can play all over the field and you can probably get him on a 2/10 deal

    Diaz/Melky till june and call up heyward

    bench – infante, mitch jones, melky, thurston/conrad, ross

  235. It’s not clear that we did, Johnny, because we don’t know how much Glaus is being paid or how much Nady will be paid. Again, we had ~$7 million to work with before trading Javy.

    Maybe that’s not quite enough, but I’m sure that we would have been able to move enough of Lowe’s salary to do that if we wanted to.

    We’ll see, I guess.

  236. @339

    Maybe, but depending on what Glaus signs for, I wouldn’t think you need to necessarily need to clear Vazquez to sign Glaus and Nady. Won’t really know till we hear the numbers on Glaus though.

    We should still have 10 MM + to play with


    I agree. We have enough question marks now that DeRosa becomes much more valuable than Damon

  237. An injury case like Troy Glaus [bulging disc in back (chronic), shoulder damage (Jan’09 surgery), oblique strain (Sept’09)] is not even worth cracking a Keystone Light or thumbing through your Metallica CDs in anticipation.

    I couldn’t disagree more. If you ask me, there is no conceivable situation that can’t be improved by eating chicken wings, listening to metallica, drinking Keystone Light, or wanting to get into the stadium to scream as loud as you can.

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