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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Braves acquire Bourn from Astros

Parturition is such sweet sorrow…

FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that the Braves have acquired Michael Bourn from the Astros in exchange for four minor leaguers.

The Braves have been wanting an outfielder for a while now, preferably one that hits right-handed, but they’ve instead just grabbed the best one that’s available. Bourn leads all of baseball in stolen bases with 39, has had a great year at the plate (.303/.363/.403) and will give Atlanta a dynamite defensive center fielder. There’s no word yet on who the Braves gave up, but it’s sure to be at least one of their “big four” pitching prospects.

Repoz Posted: July 31, 2011 at 02:03 PM | 136 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: astros, braves

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   1. spike Posted: July 31, 2011 at 02:08 PM (#3889531)
Oberholzer, Clemens, Abreu, and Shafer. AND the Braves get cash. Wren gets his man while paying the least in prospects - definitely your NL trade deadline winner.
   2. Dan Posted: July 31, 2011 at 02:09 PM (#3889532)
Yeah, pretty impressive to make this trade without even losing Minor. I figured he'd be in this deal for sure.
   3. spike Posted: July 31, 2011 at 02:11 PM (#3889533)
it's sure to be at least one of their "big four" pitching prospects.

Guess not.

Seriously, this is awesome stuff for a Braves fan. Getting arguably the best player at a position that is clearly a huge hole for the team and giving up not none of the 4 pitchers, nor Salcedo, Pastornicky or Bethancourt? Great, great job by Wren.
   4. DA Baracus Posted: July 31, 2011 at 02:32 PM (#3889539)
Bourne's a nice upgrade to a spot that has been a black hole but let's not go overboard.

Do the Astros have any actual players left, or is just a roster of fodder?
   5. Sweatpants Posted: July 31, 2011 at 02:32 PM (#3889540)
A legit center fielder!!! I'm waaaaay too excited by this. Last year it was Rick Ankiel and "improving from within." This year, it was nonstop praise for Jordan Schafer's performance as a leadoff hitter (I think his OBP is between .300 and .310). I wasn't sure they would finally shoot for a real improvement this year - good job.

For the record, the Braves' regular CFs since Andruw Jones left:

Mark Kotsay
Gregor Blanco
Josh Anderson
Jordan Schafer
Nate McLouth
A little bit of Melky
Rick Ankiel
   6. zachtoma Posted: July 31, 2011 at 02:37 PM (#3889543)
Bye Schafer, I still believed in you for some reason. I do like this deal a lot. When Michael Bourn first came up, he struck me in an odd way - he didn't feel like a real baseball player. He was obviously lightning quick - good in center, and good on the basepaths, but that seemed like his only tool, like he was a track & field athlete or football player put into a baseball uniform. Still, it was obvious that he ever learned to hit he'd be a nice player. He couldn't hit and I thought that's just who he was, but, what do you know, he learned how to hit. He's a very nice player. I was certainly hoping for the Braves to get him or Quentin, and I think Bourn is the guy I prefer of those too. FW's first good trade since Renteria-Jurrjens? Quite possibly.
   7. TerpNats Posted: July 31, 2011 at 02:40 PM (#3889545)
Wonder how this affects the Nationals, who were looking into Bourn as a (longshot) fallback in case they couldn't work something out for Span.

Speaking of that rumored deal, supposedly the Twins want not only Storen and Bernadina, but Lombardozzi as well. If Rizzo trades all three for Span, I don't care how much the Nats need a center fielder -- that would be the dumbest trade D.C.'s seen since the Senators sent the left side of their infield to Detroit for Denny McLain.
   8. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 31, 2011 at 02:40 PM (#3889546)
Don't know the prospects, but it sure looks like Wade got rooked.

You can't trade one of the better CF in the league, who is young and cheap, and not get one of Atlanta's top 6 prospects. That's insane.

I hope the Yankees can pick up Wandy for Cervelli and Noesi before the days out, if Wade's feeling all charitable.
   9. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: July 31, 2011 at 02:42 PM (#3889547)
Do the Astros have any actual players left, or is just a roster of fodder?


The Astros were on pace for 109 losses, and then just traded their 2 best players. They have a team WAR so far this year of 10.4. Including Keppinger, they have recently traded away 8.7 of that. 1.6 of the remaining 1.7 is in the dubious form of Carlos Lee's defense. They are shooting for historical bad. 115 losses is not out of the question.
   10. spike Posted: July 31, 2011 at 02:43 PM (#3889549)
FW's first good trade since Renteria-Jurrjens?

Infante for Uggla seems to be working out okay (finally)

And the McLouth deal was awesome - it's a shame he forgot how to hit, but that ain't Frank's fault.
   11. Honkie Kong Posted: July 31, 2011 at 02:46 PM (#3889550)
FW's first good trade since Renteria-Jurrjens? Quite possibly.

really?! His bad trades are few and far in between. ( Yunel but its seems to have been forced on him, and you could argue that the Soriano dump was bad ).

But damn, Mclouth for next to nothing, Infante and Ohman for a Ascanio. Uggle for Infante n Dunn. Vizcaino/Dunn/Melky for Vazquez. Vazquez for Flowers / Lillibridge.

Ankiel/Farnsworth was meh. Linebrink aint looking bad.
FA signings on the other hand. A whoel different story
   12. Roger McDowell spit on me! Posted: July 31, 2011 at 02:46 PM (#3889551)
Goes without saying, but baseball chick is going to be very unhappy...
   13. steagles Posted: July 31, 2011 at 02:49 PM (#3889552)
i do not like this. bourn's not a great player, but he's very good at a lot of different things. defense, throwing arm, baserunning, hitting for average, drawing walks. he's really made himself into a hell of a player.
   14. Honkie Kong Posted: July 31, 2011 at 02:50 PM (#3889553)
By the way, this is not a bad trade for the Astros.

Oberholtzer / Clemens will contribute at the major league level. Definitely Oberholtzer.
Abreu looks like a dynamite bullpen arm.

Schafer...well, he can try some f***ing success in Astro-land for the next two years. My least favorite brave ( and hopefully soon, ex-brave )
   15. JJ1986 Posted: July 31, 2011 at 02:51 PM (#3889554)
Who in the world plays CF for Houston now? Bogusevic?
   16. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: July 31, 2011 at 02:56 PM (#3889555)

I hope the Yankees can pick up Wandy for Cervelli and Noesi before the days out, if Wade's feeling all charitable.


Obviously Noesi is too much to give up in this environment, especially given Wandy's onerous contract. Cervelli and David Phelps.
   17. Honkie Kong Posted: July 31, 2011 at 02:57 PM (#3889556)
And yea, poor Todd Redmond. Someone take him from the Braves and give a chance to start in the majors. Feel bad for him.
   18. DA Baracus Posted: July 31, 2011 at 02:57 PM (#3889557)
But damn, Mclouth for next to nothing,


One could argue they overpaid.
   19. Honkie Kong Posted: July 31, 2011 at 03:02 PM (#3889558)
One could argue they overpaid.


But I don't think one can argue that honestly, without resorting to double standards or revisionism.
FWIW, if the Bourn trade goes through as is, and then Bourn craters, will this is be a trade you wouldn't make in 2 years?

Given the curse on that CF position since Andruw left, won't be surprised if Bourn does crater!
   20. Sweatpants Posted: July 31, 2011 at 03:06 PM (#3889560)
really?! His bad trades are few and far in between.
He's made some lousy ones (Mark Teixeira for a giant pile of nothing), but I pretty much agree with you. To me, his biggest screwups have been not getting anything for Teixeira and the debacle that was the 2009-2010 outfield. I hope that the Uggla contract doesn't get added to this list.

Edit:
Given the curse on that CF position since Andruw left, won't be surprised if Bourn does crater!
If there's one thing that I worry about with this deal, it's that the Braves are death on basestealers. Before he came here, McLouth was a 90% basestealer who stole about 20 per season. He's 23-10 as a Brave. I don't see how they could mess Bourn up, as he's the best basestealer in the league, but I am just a little worried about it.
   21. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: July 31, 2011 at 03:06 PM (#3889561)
Goes without saying, but baseball chick is going to be very unhappy...
That was my first thought too...but what level of unhappy compared to losing Pence?
   22. Corn On Ty Cobb Posted: July 31, 2011 at 03:08 PM (#3889562)
So, Bourn has one arb year left. He's a Boras client so I don't see much chance for an extension.

At any rate, great deal by Wren. I didn't think it was possible to acquire Bourn without giving up one of the big 4 pitching prospects. He drove up the price on Beltran and Pence, and got the best fit for his club in Bourn. Masterfully played.
   23. zachtoma Posted: July 31, 2011 at 03:10 PM (#3889563)
Yeah, Uggla's looking good. He went through a long hit-unlucky streak but now he's mashing and should be fine. It's the contract extension FW gave him that I don't like, but I guess it's not fair to consider that part of the trade.
   24. Ignatius J. Reilly Posted: July 31, 2011 at 03:16 PM (#3889569)
Plus, Bourne is looking like a Type-A after 2012.
   25. JRVJ Posted: July 31, 2011 at 03:23 PM (#3889574)
I'm rooting for the Phillies big time this year (well, pretty much since 2008), and I like this trade, in that it gives Atlanta a better chance of beating the Giants in the NLDS (I'm pretty sure that the NLDS will be the Giants vs. the Braves, and the Phillies against whomever comes out of the NL Central).

I would much prefer the Braves to the Giants in the NLCS.
   26. base ball chick Posted: July 31, 2011 at 03:24 PM (#3889575)
bet youse guys wondering how i'm feeling

let me tell you how i'm feeling

i'm feeling like if i could legally beat ed wade to a mushy pulp then hurt him i would

we didn't get back even ONE top player just a bunch of crap and a guy who is a "major leaguer" the braves didn't want. AND ED PAID THE BRAVES TO TAKE HIM!!!
i can think of like 5 mistakes the braves made over the past 20 years

we have 2 major leaguers left - wandy, who is going to be gone and carlos lee who is too expensive to be gone

it's bout time for divorce court i think

i am deciding whether to choose another team (cards or pirates) or just find something else to do with my life besides baseball
   27. steagles Posted: July 31, 2011 at 03:30 PM (#3889578)

we have 2 major leaguers left
i take it you're not a fan of 3'9" tall second basemen?




i am deciding whether to choose another team (cards or pirates)
is that even a decision? why would you willingly choose to root for a TLR-run team?
   28. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: July 31, 2011 at 03:30 PM (#3889579)
I guess we'll finally find out how many games an all-replacement team would win against major-league competition.
   29. William Satterwhite Posted: July 31, 2011 at 03:31 PM (#3889580)
I love getting Bourn for next to nothing but I hate that this is likely the one big move the Braves make and having lost all confidence in Chipper being able to be counted on down the stretch, I think a corner outfield bat (with Prado permanently slotted in at 3B) is still a big need.
   30. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: July 31, 2011 at 03:33 PM (#3889581)
Well Carlos Lee is right there!
   31. Honkie Kong Posted: July 31, 2011 at 03:40 PM (#3889583)
the Braves are death on basestealers

There is no team that Davey Lopes can help more than the Braves. The best basestealers are the ones who don't have speed ( McCann n Jones ).

I love getting Bourn for next to nothing but I hate that this is likely the one big move the Braves make and having lost all confidence in Chipper being able to be counted on down the stretch, I think a corner outfield bat (with Prado permanently slotted in at 3B) is still a big need.

Well, the Braves did give some decent prospects. And the cupboard is still full that they can swing a deal for an impact corner bat if they want to. Thing is, that train left the station when Beltran was traded to the Giants
   32. sonoran_fox Posted: July 31, 2011 at 03:40 PM (#3889584)
As a Braves fan I like this trade. Bourn obviously improves us right now.

But if Houston's minor league system is as bad as claimed it instantly got four actual prospects, two of which can play in the majors immediately. As soon as Schafer's finger heals he is the Astro's starting center fielder. Make no mistake, Schafer is an excellent defensive center fielder, is cheap and he may yet learn how to hit well at the major league level. As for Abreu, the Braves bullpen is exceptional right now, leaving no room for him. In Houston he can step right into the Astro's pen and contribute.

Oberholtzer should be ready to give a look to soon, harder to tell with Clemens.

A good trade for the Braves and depending on what happens down the road an Ok to good deal for the Astros.
   33. Colin Posted: July 31, 2011 at 03:41 PM (#3889585)
As a braves fan I don't expect Bourn to hit as well as he did in Minute Maid, but he should be a solid upgrade over the black hole that was our center field. That Wren did this for second-tier prospects, Jordan Schafer (who hasn't hit at any level since 2008), and got cash too is just really impressive.

I too hope they can get a righthanded platoon corner OF today. A backup SS would be useful also, as would a Not Scott Proctor.
   34. DA Baracus Posted: July 31, 2011 at 03:45 PM (#3889588)
But I don't think one can argue that honestly, without resorting to double standards or revisionism.


Well they didn't give up anything to get him, but he hasn't done ####.
   35. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 31, 2011 at 03:48 PM (#3889590)
Seems like the trade of a man about to lose his job. Any chance of a class action lawsuit by Astros fans?
   36. zachtoma Posted: July 31, 2011 at 03:48 PM (#3889591)
He's made some lousy ones (Mark Teixeira for a giant pile of nothing), but I pretty much agree with you. To me, his biggest screwups have been not getting anything for Teixeira and the debacle that was the 2009-2010 outfield. I hope that the Uggla contract doesn't get added to this list.


To me FW's biggest sins are the OF from 09-this morning, non-tendering Kelly Johnson, and trading Yunel Escobar for a shortstop who's vastly inferior in every measurable way and is currently weighing down the lineup like a wet ton of bricks. The latter two are so inexcusable they still make me angry.

He got bad results on Tex/McLouth, but they weren't necessarily bad moves to make. The Yunel-Alex Gonzalez tragedy is on Bobby too, and he doesn't deserve to escape criticism for it. Maybe he retired a year too late - I would happily trade away last year's weak playoff appearance to still have Escobar on the roster.
   37. Mike A Posted: July 31, 2011 at 04:03 PM (#3889594)
The only one who should be blamed for the Escobar trade is Escobar.
   38. DA Baracus Posted: July 31, 2011 at 04:09 PM (#3889599)
Make no mistake, Schafer is an excellent defensive center fielder, is cheap and he may yet learn how to hit well at the major league level.


That train isn't coming to town.
   39. base ball chick Posted: July 31, 2011 at 04:14 PM (#3889604)
abreu has a 4.41 minor league ERA with a 5.4 walks/9 rate IN THE MINORS
you think THAT is major league ready? we have trash in our own minor leagues bettern THAT

yunel escobar wasn't traded because he was no good, he was traded because (apparently) he was a SERIOUS problem in the clubhouse and for the manager and he wasn't hanley ramirez type good where you can be hated and have the upper hand at all times because you are THAT good. so i don't blame frank wren for that one. as shane reyonlds told me - you can't play for bobby cox, (translation to Nice Language) - something wrong with you. astros did the same thing with mitch melusky 10 years ago

non tendering kelly johnson was a HUGE mistake - agree

steagles,
i am a HUGE fan of small baseball players. the smaller the better. one of the reasons wandy is my favorite astro. one of the reasons that jimmy wynn and joe morgan are 2 of my all time favorite astros (they aren't/weren't teh HOTTTT) and one of the reasons that david eckstein is one of my all time favorite non-astros

i wonder if the astros can manage 120 losses this year - would be teh kewl to be the best at SOMEthing - like setting the all time NL record for suckage
   40. Sweatpants Posted: July 31, 2011 at 04:22 PM (#3889608)
To me FW's biggest sins are the OF from 09-this morning,
Agreed. It was only 1/3 bad this season, as opposed to the 2008-2010 teams which usually had at least two big holes in their outfield (2008 doesn't bother me that much because it was a lost season anyway), so it wasn't as bad as it had been.
non-tendering Kelly Johnson,
This was more timing than anything else. They had to make a decision on Johnson right after his worst season. Prado was clearly ready to play. They could have moved Prado to LF or Johnson back there, but keeping both on the team was going to require some squeezing.
and trading Yunel Escobar for a shortstop who's vastly inferior in every measurable way and is currently weighing down the lineup like a wet ton of bricks.
I don't know whose decision this was. Escobar has had no attitude problems in Toronto, and the more it continues that way, the more I blame the Braves for being inflexible. If Escobar wasn't really an incorrigible headcase and sulker, then his time with the club could have been salvaged. If you have a clubhouse that is going to demoralize and eventually run off talented players, I think that's a problem. Anyway, not being part of the club, I don't know how much of this is on Wren, Escobar, or the rest of the Braves.
I would happily trade away last year's weak playoff appearance to still have Escobar on the roster.
Oh, man, the lineup would have no holes if they still had Escobar. Only one star-level hitter, but nobody below average (assuming Heyward turns things around), either.
   41. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: July 31, 2011 at 04:25 PM (#3889611)
Jordan Schafer is sort of tiny. His skill set, post-HGH bust in the minor, is even tinier. Plus he rocks the faux-hawk. You'll *love* him.

I'm pretty sure the Teixeira deal was John Schuerholtz's last major trade, not one of Wren's deals.
   42. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: July 31, 2011 at 04:29 PM (#3889614)
i wonder if the astros can manage 120 losses this year

Probably not - they'd have to go 7-48 the rest of the way, which would be tough even if they didn't have 6 games left against the Cubs. But there's always next year.
   43. greenback calls it soccer Posted: July 31, 2011 at 04:31 PM (#3889615)
we have 2 major leaguers left - wandy, who is going to be gone and carlos lee who is too expensive to be gone

Bud Norris has made himself a legend in the minds of Cardinals' fans.

why would you willingly choose to root for a TLR-run team?

Lance Berkman?
   44. DA Baracus Posted: July 31, 2011 at 04:32 PM (#3889618)
Texeria was a Schuerholtz trade. Wren took over after that season.
   45. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: July 31, 2011 at 04:32 PM (#3889619)
Wren hasn't fixed the OF over the course of his tenure. This is true. This is also a function of payroll constraints. He inherited a team where payroll was locked into major contracts to John Smoltz and Chipper Jones, and an ownership that hasn't increased payroll since the early 2000s. You can argue that he continued to lock himself into that same corner by signing Derek Lowe, but his tactic has been to try and spit-ball the OF together while pulling in young talent from the minors. That's how you get the (utter fail) of Garrett Anderson, Melky Cabrera, and Troy Glaus.
   46. flournoy Posted: July 31, 2011 at 04:41 PM (#3889623)
Man, this trade is awesome. I can't stand Schafer, so it's nice to see him gone. I don't care about any of the three prospects the Braves gave up either. I mean, Brett Oberholtzer has a cool name, but I won't let that stand in the way. Great trade.
   47. zachtoma Posted: July 31, 2011 at 04:53 PM (#3889633)
This was more timing than anything else. They had to make a decision on Johnson right after his worst season. Prado was clearly ready to play. They could have moved Prado to LF or Johnson back there, but keeping both on the team was going to require some squeezing.


At that point, Prado looked a lot like a fringy guy who had a couple of fluke BA-heavy seasons, mostly as a part-timer. He would have fit perfectly as a bench player/Chipper insurance on that team; he was very good in '10, when I expected him to be exposed, but in light of how he's hit this year, he's looking more like that fringy guy again. I didn't believe in Prado back then, and I still don't. Dude looks a lot like Mark Ruffalo, though.

I don't know whose decision this was. Escobar has had no attitude problems in Toronto, and the more it continues that way, the more I blame the Braves for being inflexible.


Right, the fact that it has been quiet out of Toronto re: Escobar and that he's having his best season now is a pretty strong indictment of the Braves' handling of him. Boy does it get old hearing people refuse to blame it on anyone besides Escobar himself. I could see Chipper going on record someday talking about Escobar - hope someone does, I'm really curious.
   48. Gotham Dave Posted: July 31, 2011 at 04:55 PM (#3889634)
I guess we'll finally find out how many games an all-replacement team would win against major-league competition.
Isn't replacement level set based on the amount of wins the worst teams get (i.e. around 50)? Really it's more our definition of replacement level being challenged.
   49. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: July 31, 2011 at 04:55 PM (#3889635)
This trade is actually better than the McLouth deal (which was actually a win for Wren - no one could have foreseen McLouth's complete collapse.) Charlie Morton was a project with some relevance to the Braves' ML options. Gorkys Hernandez was probably a better CF prospect than Schafer is now. Oberholtzer, etc are projectable mid-rotation starters for the Braves, but they're literally 10-12 deep in the Braves' rotation plans.

Assuming the curse of Andruw Jones doesn't eat Bourn like it ate McLouth, this trade is made of win.
   50. William Satterwhite Posted: July 31, 2011 at 04:57 PM (#3889637)
Texeria was a Schuerholtz trade. Wren took over after that season.


Schuerholtz traded for Tex, Wren was responsible for trading him to the Angels. As well as it's turned out for the Rangers I think most people don't consider the trade for Tex as being bad, it's the return Wren got for him that's the bad move.
   51. Spivey Posted: July 31, 2011 at 04:59 PM (#3889639)


At that point, Prado looked a lot like a fringy guy who had a couple of fluke BA-heavy seasons, mostly as a part-timer. He would have fit perfectly as a bench player/Chipper insurance on that team; he was very good in '10, when I expected him to be exposed, but in light of how he's hit this year, he's looking more like that fringy guy again. I didn't believe in Prado back then, and I still don't.


At the risk of being observant, Prado has a .301 batting average over nearly 2000 plate appearances. AT what point in your mind is it no longer a fluke BA-heavy season, and you decide he's just a good hitter for average?
   52. Mayor Blomberg Posted: July 31, 2011 at 05:02 PM (#3889641)
Here is the Astros’ lineup today against the Brewers:

1. Jose Altuve (2B)
2. Clint Barmes (SS)
3. Jason Bourgeois (CF)
4. Carlos Lee (1B)
5. Jason Michaels (RF)
6. J.D. Martinez (LF)
7. Chris Johnson (3B)
8. Carlos Corporan (C)
9. Brett Myers (P)
   53. Banta Posted: July 31, 2011 at 05:07 PM (#3889645)
It's a good trade for Atlanta and I swear I'm not trolling, but Bourn strikes me as the type of player who can go from Good to Meh very quickly.

A lot depends on what you think of his defense, which I won't comment on, since I don't really have any confidence in defensive stats projecting forward nor do I watch him enough to make an informed guess, but his offense is almost guaranteed to peak where it is right now. Just an eyeball regression tells me that he's probably a 95 OPS+ hitter going forward... that with good to excellent defense is a player worth starting. But what about with averagish defense? That's a player you're probably looking to upgrade on.

Of course, that's better than what the Braves have had. And that's probably why I'm seeing the enthusiasm that I'm seeing here. It's just that my first thought was if the Braves had given up a better prospect, that this had disaster potential.
   54. PreservedFish Posted: July 31, 2011 at 05:07 PM (#3889646)
2. Clint Barmes (SS)
3. Jason Bourgeois (CF)
4. Carlos Lee (1B)
5. Jason Michaels (RF)


The only 4 I've heard of, and off the top of my head I wouldn't want any of them on my team. I guess Carlos Lee was good a few years ago. Jason Michaels was once a solid 4th outfielder/PH type, right?
   55. zachtoma Posted: July 31, 2011 at 05:08 PM (#3889647)
At the risk of being observant, Prado has a .301 batting average over nearly 2000 plate appearances. AT what point in your mind is it no longer a fluke BA-heavy season, and you decide he's just a good hitter for average?


About midway through last season, I bought into Prado being legitimate. Then this year he comes out playing like the crummy bench bat I always thought he was - as an LF, no less - so now I don't know what to believe anymore wrt Prado.

I swear I'm not trolling, but Bourn strikes me as the type of player who can go from Good to Meh very quickly.


I agree, especially because Bourn went from Meh to Good so quickly.
   56. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: July 31, 2011 at 05:10 PM (#3889649)
Schuerholtz traded for Tex, Wren was responsible for trading him to the Angels. As well as it's turned out for the Rangers I think most people don't consider the trade for Tex as being bad, it's the return Wren got for him that's the bad move.


To get a year and a half of Tex, JS gave up Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Matt Harrison, Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz and one more minor league arm that no one ever heard of. Of those players, the Braves miss, um, none, really. Harrison is having a good year, but he's not going to break the Braves rotation any more than Mike Minor is. Salty's a mid-level catcher (finally) for the Red Sox who would never move Brian McCann and could not carry 1B as a hitter. Andrus is a younger version of Alex Gonzalez. Feliz is a big arm out of the pen, which is to say, not much at all really. He'd be better than Scott Proctor, admittedly, but he wouldn't displace Kimbrel or Venters.

In exchange for a half season of Tex, Wren got a starting 1B (Kotchman) and some spare parts (???). I honestly don't remember exactly what came back there, but it's not like the Angels were going to give up a ton of projectable talent for 2.5 months of Tex before he went free agent. Kotchman crashed hard in Atlanta, but it wasn't that bad of a deal on paper.
   57. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: July 31, 2011 at 05:15 PM (#3889653)
Martin Prado is an excellent 2B option. Martin Prado is a replacement level LF (in pre-2011 numbers, at least.) The key to being able to carry Prado as a LF is having the real Dan Uggla play 2B. If Uggla is hitting like Dan Uggla, which is like a LF, then you can play your 2B bat in LF.

If the Braves can get the other guys healthy again, they should run something like...

Bourn (CF)
Prado (LF)
Chipper (3B)
McCann (C)
Uggla (2B)
Freeman (1B)
Heyward (RF)
Gonzalez (SS)
pitcher

That's not bad. And you might be wise to flip AGon and JHey to get the better OBP eye in front of the pitcher.
   58. DA Baracus Posted: July 31, 2011 at 05:17 PM (#3889654)
Schuerholtz traded for Tex, Wren was responsible for trading him to the Angels.


I just assumed we were talking about the trade for him. The trade to Anaheim was underwhelming but it was a 2 month rental for a big name FA to be. They weren't going to get a lot to begin with. I can't knock Wren for it too much.
   59. zachtoma Posted: July 31, 2011 at 05:19 PM (#3889655)
Andrus is a younger version of Alex Gonzalez.


That's crazy talk. Andrus would be a massive upgrade at SS for the Braves. He's 22, excellent defensively, and already a superior offensive player to Alex Gonzalez (more BA and OBP, less power). Gonzalez has a .263 OBP this year. I guarantee you the Braves miss Elvis Andrus (if it was Andrus v. Escobar that'd be a different story). And yeah, Feliz might not be a difference-making arm on this Braves staff but he'd give them the deepest bullpen in the majors, they'd like to have him too.

It's one thing to argue that it was a good trade on the day it was made, which is plausible. But it's another reality in which you can argue the outcome has vindicated it.
   60. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: July 31, 2011 at 05:25 PM (#3889658)
Gonzalez is having a bad year, even by his standards. And yeah, given the option, you'd probably play Andrus over Gonzalez. But Elvis Andrus is not the type of player you really worry about losing. If he figures out how to hit for power or get on base at a better clip, he may become worthy of the "star" status people tend to treat him with. He's a low-OBP, zero-SLG SS. He's Jordan Schafer on the infield. You don't cry about losing that.

And yes, it would be nice to have Feliz as a fourth head to the great bullpen monster (especially since Moylan has been down with the surgery.) But he's a reliever. You include him in a deal to land a year and a half of Mark Teixeira. Every single time.
   61. Brian White Posted: July 31, 2011 at 05:35 PM (#3889662)
He would have fit perfectly as a bench player/Chipper insurance on that team; he was very good in '10, when I expected him to be exposed, but in light of how he's hit this year, he's looking more like that fringy guy again. I didn't believe in Prado back then, and I still don't.


Its a down year for Prado, but he's still putting up a 105 OPS+. His bat was clearly going to be an asset at second, which is why the Braves felt they could non-tender Kelly Johnson. The non-tender was still a bad idea, but it had nothing to do with Prado's ability to play.

As for the Bourn trade, it's great. I love it. Bourn provides enough value with his defense and baserunning such that even if he loses 20 or 30 points of batting average or so, he's still a lot better than the crap the Braves have been running out there.
   62. Honkie Kong Posted: July 31, 2011 at 05:40 PM (#3889667)
abreu has a 4.41 minor league ERA with a 5.4 walks/9 rate IN THE MINORS
you think THAT is major league ready? we have trash in our own minor leagues bettern THAT


Probably not. he is striking out people in AAA at 13K/9, and hasn't given up much. He was a project picked up from the Royals, and the Braves have taught him some control, and some way of harnessing his stuff, as he has been really good in AAA this year.

Here is a link about him from a minor league scouting site ( Nice blog this, btw ).

Scouting the Sally : Juan Abreu
   63. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: July 31, 2011 at 05:43 PM (#3889671)
Kelly Johnson is the streakiest player I've ever seen. He had just posted a horrible year. He was getting arb-expensive. And he would have had to play LF (or move Prado to LF.)

He went out to ARI, to a ballpark perfectly suited to his moderate LH power, and put up good numbers there. I have no reason to believe that he'd have put up similar numbers at TF, where moderately powerful LH hitters go to die.
   64. Spahn Insane Posted: July 31, 2011 at 05:45 PM (#3889673)
Gonzalez has a .263 OBP this year.

But, you repeat yourself.
   65. Honkie Kong Posted: July 31, 2011 at 05:45 PM (#3889674)
The Teix deal was bad then, and is still bad. Giving up 2 good ML players, plus 2 so-so players even on hindsight is bad.

But then, Salty was a top prospect. Andrus was a top prospect, and Feliz a highly regarded lottery ticket ( so was Beau Jones, the one who didn't pan out ). And Andrus is better than Gonzalez this year and last. Yunel is better than both, but then, he is Yunel.
With the Braves, Feliz might have stuck as a starter which is a lost opportunity cost.

The highly regarded Braves draft of 2006 turned out to be a disaster. Johnson / Locke / Evarts / Rodgers / Rasmus / Hyde all busted. Though there might still be some hope for Rasmus.
Poor unheralded Medlen turned out to be the gem of that draft.
   66. Mike A Posted: July 31, 2011 at 05:45 PM (#3889675)
Escobar was given a dozen chances in Atlanta to improve his attitude and he never did. He was dogging it on the field, taking plays off, and pretty much everyone couldn't stand him. Heck, Jeff Blauser basically gave up managing because of Yunel. And yet people continue to blame the Braves, despite Bobby Cox being by all accounts an easy manager to play under. And Atlanta is a pretty laid-back clubhouse as well.

Escobar was a talented malcontent with the Braves. It's nice that he has improved his attitude in Toronto, but it just wasn't happening in Atlanta.
   67. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: July 31, 2011 at 05:46 PM (#3889676)
Andrus is a plus fielder at short by rep and every metric under the sun. Combine that with a subpar, but not terrible bat and he's an above average starter (at age 22). Yeah, you shed a tear or two over that loss.
Anyway, I don't want to revisit the Tex debacles, it still makes me angry.

Very nice deal for Atlanta ... even if I agree with Banta that we're buying high on Bourn's performance level (though I feel pretty good about his ability to remain a plus fielder going forward). None of these four are guys who we were counting on going forward (though I expect Obey will have a nice career).

bbc, you're being overly hard on Abreu - his career ERA in the minors is so high because of his first two seasons ('05 and '06, had an ERA well over 6 in rookie ball) ... this year he's at 2.25 w/ a bit under 13 k/9. If he can throw strikes, he'll be a solid middle man in the bigs. The odds are against him doing that for a sustained period of time, but it's not uncommon for a guy with this profile to have enough click to make the jump. (See Al Alburquerque.)
   68. Honkie Kong Posted: July 31, 2011 at 05:52 PM (#3889677)
we're buying high on Bourn's performance level

Its not just that, but also the curse that the Braves CF position has been. But then, Bourn doesn't have to be that good to drastically improve what we are getting from our CF right now.
Heck, people were considering Schafer a huge upgrade when factoring in defence.
   69. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: July 31, 2011 at 05:53 PM (#3889678)
Anyway, I don't want to revisit the Tex debacles, it still makes me angry.


I will never understand this mindset. You play to win in the bigs. You go get Mark Tiexiera. Every last time.
   70. stubbyc Posted: July 31, 2011 at 05:56 PM (#3889679)
So in order for the Braves to fill a major need the Astros let them protect their top 10 or so minor league guys? As well as all the young ML talent they have. And just for good measure they kicked in salary on a guy who isn't that expensive?

The only 4 I've heard of, and off the top of my head I wouldn't want any of them on my team. I guess Carlos Lee was good a few years ago. Jason Michaels was once a solid 4th outfielder/PH type, right?


2 of the Astros 3 best hitters in the current Astros lineup were called up from AA in the past 2 weeks. Altuve and Martinez. The rest of the lineup aside from Lee is terrible. I can't even imagine how many games this team is going to lose down the stretch.

I didn't think the Astros were quite as far off as some did, but they went and ###### that up with this trade.
   71. base ball chick Posted: July 31, 2011 at 05:57 PM (#3889680)
i hate ed wade so much. i hate him more than i ever did carlos beltran and i didn't know that wuz possible

he is saying the 2 braves AA guys we got he expects to have in the rotation next year and no i am not kidding. he LUUUUVVVS jordan schafer's attitude

he's excited about the AAA reliever age 26 because he throws 98 MPH (never mind that his MINR LEAGUE ERA is 4.4 and he gives up 5+ walks/9

the a-ball 1B is a middle of the lineup power hitter that philly wouldn't even THINK of trading last year and now - for SOME reason they don't want him no mo. same thing with the pitcher who is gonna be an 8th inning guy

WHOOPIE DOO!!!
   72. chris p Posted: July 31, 2011 at 05:57 PM (#3889681)
the better OBP eye in front of the pitcher.

why would you want that?
   73. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: July 31, 2011 at 05:58 PM (#3889683)
I will never understand this mindset. You play to win in the bigs. You go get Mark Tiexiera. Every last time.
I (obviously) disliked the deal at the time ... and see no reason to have changed my mind. Go get your Herschel Walkers, I'll try to win ballgames.

***

But then, Bourn doesn't have to be that good to drastically improve what we are getting from our CF right now.
Preaching to the choir.
   74. zachtoma Posted: July 31, 2011 at 06:00 PM (#3889685)
You go get Mark Tiexiera. Every last time.


It wasn't a bad move to make. I only wonder if the Braves FO was being a bit unrealistic about the fact that Teixeira would never in a million years resign with them. They should have seen that coming and taken into account, not sure they did.
   75. Honkie Kong Posted: July 31, 2011 at 06:04 PM (#3889687)
I will never understand this mindset. You play to win in the bigs. You go get Mark Tiexiera. Every last time.


Right, but you do enough of those trades, and you end up like 80's Phillies. The Braves got super lucky that they managed to stock pile their farm without a hiccup, otherwise the effect would be worse.

Look, noone says that the Teix move was not something that the Braves shouldn't have done given their "success cycle". But everyone also knew that it was a gamble, and the Braves had overpaid a lot on it. And now that the gamble turned awry, people will feel bad about it.
If in the Mclouth trade, Gorkys suddenly rediscovered how to hit, and Locke became the awesomeness he had hinted at, people would be real sour.

But thats why its prospecting. You can't and shouldn't hold on to them too dearly. The end result is still whether you made the playoffs in the majors.
   76. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: July 31, 2011 at 06:08 PM (#3889689)
Go get your Herschel Walkers, I'll try to win ballgames.


First, a prime-of-his-career Mark Teixeira is hardly comparable to an over-the-hill Herschel Walker. That's a stupid comparison.

Second, you go ahead and "try to win ballgames." At, what, AAA? The point is to win divisions, LCS's and World Championships. At the ML level. Not to get the most bestest write-ups available from Keith Law.

It wasn't a bad move to make. I only wonder if the Braves FO was being a bit unrealistic about the fact that Teixeira would never in a million years resign with them. They should have seen that coming and taken into account, not sure they did.


The Braves traded for Tex on the theory that he would anchor the middle of their offense behind Chipper for a year and a half, which would push them over the edge and back into the playoffs. That theory exploded with Tim Hudson's right elbow, a little after the trade was made. But it was a solid trade, and solid strategy at the time of the deal.
   77. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: July 31, 2011 at 06:16 PM (#3889693)
Right, but you do enough of those trades, and you end up like 80's Phillies. The Braves got super lucky that they managed to stock pile their farm without a hiccup, otherwise the effect would be worse.


Yeah, the Braves have been "super lucky" at identifying and developing talent via their minor leagues since, oh, 1986 or so. It's shocking, how "super lucky" they are in that regard. Because god knows, it couldn't possibly be that they have a solid, scout-based development factory working down that way. That would be crazy and stuff. Because scouts are stupid and don't look at spreadsheets and stuff.

I have no reason to suspect that Elvis Andrus will be a better player than Tyler Pastornicky. I know that without the entire starting staff going down to injury, the Tex deal put the Braves back into contention mode.
   78. Honkie Kong Posted: July 31, 2011 at 06:26 PM (#3889695)
Because god knows, it couldn't possibly be that they have a solid, scout-based development factory working down that way. That would be crazy and stuff. Because scouts are stupid and don't look at spreadsheets and stuff.

Because as has been mentioned any number of times, no matter how good your process is, turning prospects into major leaguers takes some luck. Braves turned a bunch of fliers into top flight contributors. Needs a good system but also luck.
See my post about the 2006 draft above.
   79. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: July 31, 2011 at 06:27 PM (#3889696)
Herschel/Tex: overrated guys (hw: age, tex: pf + miseval'd def) in glamour roles (hb/power hitter) traded for a bunch of guys in deals that played an important role in the rebuilding effort of the player's orig team.

[+ they're both guys I rooted for as a kid (at diff ages, obviously)]

Obviously, it's not a question of whether or not tex was good/useful or whether or not prospects are there to serve the big league team (via use or trade), it's was the deal worthwhile. We overpaid (as was evident at the time) & it came back to bite us.
   80. phoenixscienter Posted: July 31, 2011 at 06:39 PM (#3889698)
Easily the best deal made by any of the teams in contention. BY FAR.

Wren gets a 3+ WAR player (to date) to replace a 1 WAR (or so) CF and adds plus defense and speed to the team (and gets money from Wade to boot). Wade didn't realize Bourn is the superior player to Pence.

Braves just won the trade deadline - by a landslide.
   81. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: July 31, 2011 at 06:39 PM (#3889699)
Because as has been mentioned any number of times, no matter how good your process is, turning prospects into major leaguers takes some luck.


You don't have to be perfect. You have to be better than the competition. If every franchise has the "luck" factor washing through their development process, then it's a pointless "account for" that. If everyone has to run in weighted boots, you just figure out who runs faster.
   82. The District Attorney Posted: July 31, 2011 at 06:53 PM (#3889705)
Wade didn't realize Bourn is the superior player to Pence.
Yeah, that's what Neyer said. I dunno.

(To be fair, even if it were true and Wade did realize it, it wouldn't help Wade get any more for him in a trade unless his trade partners also realized it.)
   83. Mike Emeigh Posted: July 31, 2011 at 06:54 PM (#3889706)
Oberholtzer is the most likely guy to have a career, but Clemens has the most upside of the four guys Houston got. Abreu's kind of a "meh" - I think he's more likely to be bullpen filler than he is to have a front-line role. I'm not a big Jordan Schafer fan - he reminds me an awful lot of Chad Hermansen, same strengths and weaknesses.

Even so, I think this is a good return for Bourn, and I think it's fairly obvious what the Astros are trying to do - get enough arms so that they don't totally fall by the wayside until they can rebuild the offense. That's not a terrible strategy if executed properly - you can give off the illusion of respectability by losing games 3-2 and 4-3 instead of 7-5 and 9-4 and at least keep the fans somewhat hopeful.

-- MWE
   84. chris p Posted: July 31, 2011 at 07:36 PM (#3889739)
Wren gets a 3+ WAR player (to date) to replace a 1 WAR (or so) CF and adds plus defense and speed to the team

no. he got a 2+ WAR improvement BY adding defense and speed. he didn't also add these things.
   85. Walt Davis Posted: July 31, 2011 at 07:38 PM (#3889741)
Over the last 2.6 seasons, Bourn has 12 WAR -- that's damn good.

OK, 3 of those WAR are defense. Maybe you don't believe the defensive numbers so let's call him average defensively. That's still 9 WAR over 2.6 seasons which leaves him as very good.

OK, 3 of those WAR are baserunning (and DP prevention). Maybe you don't believe those. Take those away and he's still been an average CF over the last 2.6 seasons.

Now it's true that if his speed completely disappears, so does most of his value (I assume he has a good number of IF hits) and he's below-average.

After Jimenez and probably Beltran, he was the best available player this year. Good job by the Braves.j

EDIT: (To be fair, even if it were true and Wade did realize it, it wouldn't help Wade get any more for him in a trade unless his trade partners also realized it.)

True, but then you hold onto him rather than trade him.
   86. Barnaby Jones Posted: July 31, 2011 at 08:22 PM (#3889789)
1.6 of the remaining 1.7 is in the dubious form of Carlos Lee's defense.


What manner of sorcery is this?
   87. ColonelTom Posted: July 31, 2011 at 08:34 PM (#3889813)
All right, I'll try to talk BBC off the ledge. :)

I've ripped Wade in the past, but looking at Wade's trade history, Houston's problem isn't Wade's trades - it's the team's inability to draft/sign good prospects, on top of the horrible Carlos Lee signing that pre-dated Wade. Wade's trades:

2007-08 offseason:
Brad Lidge + Eric Bruntlett to PHI for Michael Bourn, Geoff Geary, Mike Costanzo
Josh Anderson to ATL for Oscar Villarreal
Luke Scott, Matt Albers, Costanzo, Dennis Sarfate, Troy Patton to BAL for Miguel Tejada
Chad Qualls, Chris Burke, Juan Gutierrez to ARI for Jose Valverde

Viewing the Lidge/Valverde swap-out of closers as a pair (both were excellent in 2008, and Houston got one more year out of Valverde than they would of Lidge), they got Bourn/Geary/Costanzo for Qualls/Burke/Gutierrez. Only Bourn, Geary, and Qualls had any major-league value out of that deal, which looks like a great swap for Houston.

The Tejada deal cost them Luke Scott and two relievers (Albers and Patton), but they got one mediocre and one good season out of Tejada - a loss, perhaps, but not a huge one.

2008 trade deadline:
Chad Reineke to SD for Randy Wolf
Matt Cusick to NYY for LaTroy Hawkins

Two solid trade-deadline acquisitions without giving up anything the Astros will miss. Reineke's 29, and while he put up a good ERA in AAA as a starter this year, his peripherals don't support it.

2008-09 offseason:
Drew Sutton to CIN for Jeff Keppinger

Sutton has played well as a super-sub for Boston in limited duty, but they thought so much of him that they traded prospects for Mike Aviles to fill that same role. Keppinger played decently for Houston over 2 1/2 seasons before netting them two relievers in a recent deadline deal.

2009 trade deadline:
Ivan Rodriguez to TEX for Jose Vallejo and Matt Nevarez

Pudge was done when Wade signed him, but he played four months in Houston before yielding two minor leaguers.

2009-10 offseason:
Robert Bono, Luis Bryan, PTBNL (Jorge Jimenez, later Rule 5 selection from BOS) to FLA for Matt Lindstrom

Wade got a season of Lindstrom, then spun him off for two mediocre prospects from COL - a non-event.

2010 first half of season:
future considerations to TEX for Jalien Peguero
future considerations to SEA for Tommy Everidge
Kevin Cash to BOS for Angel Sanchez

Warm bodies all around.

2010 trade deadline:
Roy Oswalt + cash to PHI for J.A. Happ, Jonathan Villar, Anthony Gose
Anthony Gose to TOR for Brett Wallace
Lance Berkman to HOU for Mark Melancon, Jimmy Paredes
Pedro Feliz + cash to STL for David Carpenter

Happ and Wallace were both overrated prospects, and neither is looking like a good long-term acquisition at this point (though it's still early). Villar has struggled in AA, but he's still very young (20) and looks like a good bet going forward. Wade probably should have stuck with Gose instead of Wallace; Gose looks like the second coming of, well, Michael Bourn.

As for the Berkman deal, Berkman looked like toast at the time, so kudos to Wade for getting something useful in return. Paredes doesn't look like much, but Melancon is a cheap, effective late-inning reliever that could break out as a top-level closer down the road.

Carpenter has put up good numbers as a minor-league closer; the jury's still out in the majors, but getting anything back for Feliz is impressive.

2010 offseason:
Felipe Paulino to COL for Clint Barmes
Matt Lindstrom to COL for Wes Musick, Jonnathan Aristil
Albert Cartwright to PHI for Sergio Escalona
Cash/PTBNL to TAM for Joe Inglett

The Paulino/Barmes swap was ugly; Barmes hasn't shown anything beyond his previously established level (a poor man's Juan Uribe if we're being very generous - some versatility/pop, no eye). Paulino has shown flashes of being a good pitcher, though his ERA doesn't show it. Nothing else noteworthy here - Lindstrom was acquired for little and brought back little in return.

2011 trade deadline:
Jeff Keppinger to SF for Henry Sosa, Jason Stoffel
Hunter Pence + cash to PHI for Jarred Cosart, Jonathan Singleton, Josh Zeid, PTBNL
Michael Bourn + cash to ATL for Jordan Schafer, Juan Abreu, Paul Clemens, Brett Oberholtzer

Keppinger wasn't going to bring back a lot, though you have to wonder if the Red Sox would have taken him over Mike Aviles and given Houston Yamaico Navarro. (Probably not, but maybe.) The Pence deal brought back a nice haul of prospects. The Bourn deal isn't horrible at all. Cosart, Clemens, and Oberholtzer immediately become three of Houston's top pitching prospects (not a huge compliment, but it's something), and Zeid and Abreu could well join with Melancon to form a good, cheap late-inning unit (no point in paying $$ for closers when the team's not winning anything). I don't think Schafer does anything for Houston that Jason Bourgeois can't already do, but the three arms (plus the two acquired in the Pence deal) were desperately needed in Houston's system. Singleton becomes the #1 bat in their system by a fair margin. If Schafer comes to life and becomes the next Michael Bourn, he could make Wade look brilliant, but I wouldn't hold my breath. Still, that's not a bad haul for a guy they picked up, in essence, for Chad Qualls a few years ago.

Does anyone know what Houston's player-development budget is relative to other teams? That's where the problem appears to be. If they pour the money they would have paid their big-money players (Pence, Bourn, Berkman, Oswalt) into fixing their minor-league operations, that would be a huge additional positive out of Wade's recent deals. Signing their 2011 first-rounder, George Springer, would be a big step in that direction.
   88. base ball chick Posted: July 31, 2011 at 09:26 PM (#3889850)
bbc, you're being overly hard on Abreu - his career ERA in the minors is so high because of his first two seasons ('05 and '06, had an ERA well over 6 in rookie ball) ... this year he's at 2.25 w/ a bit under 13 k/9. If he can throw strikes, he'll be a solid middle man in the bigs. The odds are against him doing that for a sustained period of time, but it's not uncommon for a guy with this profile to have enough click to make the jump. (See Al Alburquerque.)

- no i'm not
he has a 2.25 ERA because 6 of his 18 runs given up are unearned. he doesn't have a particularly low hits/9 and he has a VERY high walks/9. he throws hard, but so did steve randolph. major league hitters do not swing at the same borerline crap that AAA guys do

colonel tom

swapping lidge for valverde was fine (yeah combining 2 trades) - we got 3 1/2 great years of bourn, they got a WS Ring
getting rid of luke scott for tejada at 14 mill a year for 2 years and very little value - THAT was absolutely terrible because it ALSO meant signing carlos lee to that absurd deal
- albers is a decent reliever - he's had 4 years and we had 1 year of geary before cooper killt his arm

getting hawkins was good (fast eddie is GOOD at getting relievers off the scrap heap) and so was randy wolf, but that was purely a salary dump by san diego and we paid wolf so they didn't want anything - reineke was no good at AAA and hadn't been good

drew sutton for keppinger was good - keppinger for 2 pieces of AA filler was bullstuff

pudge rodriguez was dirt cheap and the 2 guys we got for him are awful - meh

junk for lindstrom was good, but lindstrom for hunk was not

jailen peguero (ex astros minor leaguer) and tommy everidge are minor league filler

- there are a bunch more trades for relievers you are leaving out - also a bunch of waiver wire pickups of relievers too

the roy oswalt trade was terrible - we threw away the only one who was good. wallace has no power and my 9 year olds can outrun him. paredes and villar are meh - oh, i foergot, they are supposed to be great at defense. whoopie doo. it's why we're making clint barmes the centerpiece of the New Young Astros - they got rid of paulino because he "didn't know how to get run support - i mean , uh, win)

berkman got us melancon, a middle reliever who is closing because we ain't got nobody else. berkman was having a bad year last year, so i can't really throw no stones.

the guys we got from philly are guys who last year they wouldn't even consider trading and this year, were HAPPY to get rid of and ed wade had to pay them for getting rid of what they didn't want. the phils fans i've talked to are VERY happy - just like they were last year giving up crap, i mean happ, for oswalt

don't get me started on the bourn trade. we didn't even get any of the guys who will be one of the braves top 5 STARTING prospects

BAH

i now have a team where jason bourgeois is HITTING THIRD.

i wonder if we can set any records with fastest to 100 losses
   89. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: July 31, 2011 at 09:41 PM (#3889864)
berkman got us melancon, a middle reliever who is closing because we ain't got nobody else.


I think Melancon has both the stuff and the temperament for closing, but even if he were an excellent closer that doesn't really help a team like Houston when there are so many other holes.

The Oswalt trade was brutal though, you have to get a better return than that when you ship off your best pitcher to a contender.
   90. The NeverEnding Torii (oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh oh) Posted: July 31, 2011 at 10:19 PM (#3889891)
Where have you gone, Billy Hatcher, a lonely outfield turns its eyes to you.
   91. Colin Posted: August 01, 2011 at 12:23 AM (#3889944)
The thing with Andrus is that at the time he was traded to the Rangers he was in A-ball, with a sub-700 OPS at both A and high A. He was extremely young, 17 and 18 years old at those two levels, and that was the main thing he had going for him. Neftali Feliz had thrown all of 56 innings in rookie league ball at ages 18 and 19. Matt Harrison was in AA and was no better than any of the guys traded to Houston today. Salty was the star player in the deal; he'd had an excellent season at high A ball, a mediocre season at AA, and a hot streak of 22 games at AA before a call-up to the majors, where he was enjoying a nice-but-not-spectacular rookie season between catcher and first base. None of these guys was a remotely sure thing.

As a Braves fan who would be quite content to have Andrus at SS instead of Alex Gonzalez and Feliz in the bullpen, I gotta tip my cap to the Rangers. They either scouted well, developed well, or got very lucky; whatever it was, they identified four major league talents from a group of Saltalamacchia, a good-but-not-great AA pitcher, a young-for-level shortstop who was holding his own with the bat at A ball, and a live arm with 56 innings at rookie ball. Good for them.
   92. Joe Kehoskie Posted: August 01, 2011 at 12:52 AM (#3889959)
Escobar was a talented malcontent with the Braves. It's nice that he has improved his attitude in Toronto, but it just wasn't happening in Atlanta.

Exactly right. Given the Braves' outstanding track record, it's odd seeing so many people blaming the team for Escobar's departure. Prior to Toronto, Escobar had been known as a malcontent at every one of his stops: in Cuba's junior program, in the Cuban National Series, in Atlanta's farm system, and then with the Braves in the big leagues. This wasn't a situation where two weeks of a bad attitude led to a knee-jerk dumping.

That's not a terrible strategy if executed properly - you can give off the illusion of respectability ...

For the Astros, hasn't this train left the station (no MMP pun intended)? The Astros just traded their two best and most popular players for a collection of minor leaguers and fringe major leaguers. If the "illusion of respectability" was the goal, it seems like they should have kept Pence and at least had someone to market the team around.

Aside from the losses and general facelessness of the ML team, the Astros are heading into a rebuilding process in which they're liable to have few or even no extra high draft picks, now that Bourn (2013 draft) and Pence ('14) are gone. It's going to be an interesting process to watch unfold.
   93. base ball chick Posted: August 01, 2011 at 12:52 AM (#3889960)
YR - well, the astros bullpen has blown TWENTY saves - that's a LOT. and some of those are melancon's

to call the oswalt trade "brutal" is an understatement unless all you value in an infielder is the glove

happ has lost his confidence and might do better with another team, but i always figgered the walks would catch up and bite him in the ass and they did (and yeah, he IS getting squeezed by the umps)
   94. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: August 01, 2011 at 01:11 AM (#3889967)
Me: bbc, you're being overly hard on Abreu - his career ERA in the minors is so high because of his first two seasons ('05 and '06, had an ERA well over 6 in rookie ball) ... this year he's at 2.25 w/ a bit under 13 k/9. If he can throw strikes, he'll be a solid middle man in the bigs. The odds are against him doing that for a sustained period of time, but it's not uncommon for a guy with this profile to have enough click to make the jump. (See Al Alburquerque.)

baseball chick: - no i'm not
he has a 2.25 ERA because 6 of his 18 runs given up are unearned. he doesn't have a particularly low hits/9 and he has a VERY high walks/9. he throws hard, but so did steve randolph. major league hitters do not swing at the same borerline crap that AAA guys do


I used ERA 'cause you were citing ERA - I'll freely acknowledge that overstates his current contributions.
However... that doesn't preclude the possibility of his being a contributor, even if a marginal one, in the bigs in the near future. Put another way, going into the season he was a marginal 40 man guy. His stock, such as it is, has improved since then ... he was definitely going to be on someone's 40, with a shot of making a big league squad, next year. This deal means that team will likely be yours. I've never considered myself a fan of his, per se, but I wouldn't be surprised if he had an extended big league career / became a solid middle reliever (note: I do not foresee him ever having a 'frontline role') ... nor would if be surprised if he was a washout. I do like him quite a bit more than I ever liked Stephen Randolph, if that means anything. (It doesn't - Randolph always looked useless.)
   95. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: August 01, 2011 at 01:29 AM (#3889974)
The thing with Andrus is that at the time he was traded to the Rangers he was in A-ball, with a sub-700 OPS at both A and high A. He was extremely young, 17 and 18 years old at those two levels, and that was the main thing he had going for him. Neftali Feliz had thrown all of 56 innings in rookie league ball at ages 18 and 19. Matt Harrison was in AA and was no better than any of the guys traded to Houston today. Salty was the star player in the deal; he'd had an excellent season at high A ball, a mediocre season at AA, and a hot streak of 22 games at AA before a call-up to the majors, where he was enjoying a nice-but-not-spectacular rookie season between catcher and first base. None of these guys was a remotely sure thing.

You're understating how these guys were regarded at the time of the deal. Entering the season, BA's top three Braves prospects were Salty (#36 in baseball), Andrus (#65), and Harrison (#90) ... Andrus ended it as BA's #19 guy (Salty then ineligible). [Being a league average player in a full-season league at ages 17, 18 being a rare thing - and a function of his esteemed tools.] Feliz began the year as the Braves' #18 prospect, but ended it #93 in baseball. At the time of the trade, all four of these players were regarded quite a bit more highly than Oberholzer, the top ranked guy from the Bourn deal (not trying at all to compare Tex v. Bourn). There was also Beau Jones, then a live arm who might figure stuff out (he hasn't yet, likely won't).

No, none of these guys were sure things (I thought Salty would be pretty good, for one), but no one is. Should they all be dealt away, no matter how marginal the upgrade? The return on 'hits' can be really good.
   96. puck Posted: August 01, 2011 at 01:30 AM (#3889976)
The Paulino/Barmes swap was ugly; Barmes hasn't shown anything beyond his previously established level (a poor man's Juan Uribe if we're being very generous - some versatility/pop, no eye).


Barmes has actually had a good year. He plays a very good shortstop. I don't know how much longer he can keep that up, though, given his age (32). Amazing that he is actually a little older than Uribe.
   97. Tom Nawrocki Posted: August 01, 2011 at 01:58 AM (#3889990)
Yeah, I don't get the Barmes hate. You've got a terrific defensive shortstop with a 99 OPS+. On the current incarnation of the Astros, that's a superstar.
   98. Tricky Dick Posted: August 01, 2011 at 02:00 AM (#3889991)
Barmes has actually had a good year. He plays a very good shortstop. I don't know how much longer he can keep that up, though, given his age (32). Amazing that he is actually a little older than Uribe.


Yeah, I was shocked at how well Barmes plays shortstop when he came in the Rockies trade. I haven't seen shortstop defense that good since Adam Everett. Because Barmes was backing up Tulo in Colorado, I never had much chance to see him play shortstop. Barmes' defense is one of the few interesting things to watch on the team.

Overall, the Astros defense is putrid. But 5-5 Altuve appears to be a surprisingly good defender.
   99. Ron J Posted: August 01, 2011 at 02:03 AM (#3889993)
#48 It was initially set by Bill James at the level expansion teams have generally played at.

And it's not so much challenging the definition as showing in the same way that the Cleveland Spiders did that all things are possible when you mail a season in.

Though I have to say it's unlikely that the Astros will give a cigar clerk a start. They're just damned hard to find at a team's hotel these days.
   100. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: August 01, 2011 at 02:09 AM (#3889997)
I thought the Paulino/Barmes deal was regrettable for Houston* (same for Colorado's subsequent dump of Paulino to KC), but he did have a 5.83 ERA (70 ERA+) in 47 games (mostly starts) ... that's more a run support issue.

[Like Abreu, he posted terrible ERAs his first two years in the states and was never as dominant a minor league performer as his tools suggested he should be. At the big league level, Paulino may be a candidate for sustained worse than average BABIPs, due to his tendency to work high in the zone.]

* As other have noted, Barmes has played well - so far, this deal has worked out. The glove didn't surprise me (too much) but the bat did.
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