Notes on 755 Hank Aaron Dr

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Escobar Trade

So, a few months ago, I said that Yunel Escobar was the second best player on the team. And now he’s a Toronto Blue Jay, replaced by one of the Alex Gonzalezes. Why?

The easy, and obvious, answer is that he wasn’t hitting. But I think that’s probably a bit too simple of an answer. The other easy answer is that he was a problem in the clubhouse. But I doubt that he was any more of a problem this year than last. And the Braves aren’t a team in the habit of overreacting to a poor month or three. Especially with a young and talented player. So, what gives?

I think that the Braves had just decided that they couldn’t count on Escobar as a key part of the team going forward. Perhaps if he had displayed more maturity, or continued to produce like he had, or in the best case, done both, he would still be in Atlanta. But like Jeff Francoeur, it was time to go.

And perhaps the Braves front office under Frank Wren prefers to remove the temptation to believe in a guy, after they’ve decided they can’t believe in him. After all, if you decide in July that Escobar (or Francoeur) can’t be relied on, it might be better to get them away, so you can’t be swayed by a hot few weeks. I’m reminded of a game during Bobby Cox’s first go around with the Braves, where he started Gene Garber in the outfield, batting third. It was a road game, so he pinch hit for Garber in the first inning. The reason? He wanted to ensure that he gave Garber the night off, and this way he couldn’t be tempted to use him.

At least now the Braves know, without a doubt, that they are in the market for a shortstop this offseason. Worst case, Alex Gonzalez gets his option picked up, and holds the job for another year. The free agent list isn’t overly exciting, although there are a few names that might be interesting.

(And yes, I know the trade was two weeks ago.  Look, I just posted the 2010 outfield preview last night.  And the pitching staff hasn't been covered yet....)



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