Following the Javier Vazquez for Melky Cabrera trade, the Braves' fanbase has gone berserk.
"What? Our best pitcher for a crappy fourth outfielder?" and blah, blah, blah.
Well, while it is tough to see Vazquez go, we should all just chill out and accept the trade. And there are a couple of reasons why.
First of all, Frank Wren found only a couple of teams willing to take Derek Lowe, and all of the teams wanted the Braves paying about half of the salary left on Lowe's contract.
Now think about this: How mad would all of you have been if the Braves did this:
OF Gary Mathews Jr. (and his awesome $10 million salary)
SP Derek Lowe
The Vazquez trade is a much better. The Braves also acquired Troy Glaus, who should be, at the very least, a 20 home run guy.
Also, Melky Cabrera was not the centerpiece of this Vazquez trade. It was really Arodis Vizcaino, who, much like Julio Teheran, could be a future Tommy Hanson. How does that sound (Or Vizcaino could totally fail, but let's hope not)?
If there were really something to blame for the Vazquez trade, I would blame one of two things.
The Kenshin Kawakami signing: This signing really wasn't necessary last offseason. The Braves would have been fine without him.
The Tim Hudson extension: I prefer the first, because I think Hudson will post an ERA around 3.50 this season, which will help make up for Vazquez's absence.
Now let's look at the Braves lineup and rotation right now, along with my projections.
- Nate McLouth - .265 average, 21 homers, 55 RBI, 20 stolen bases
- Martin Prado - .305 average, 13 homers, 55 RBI
- Chipper Jones - .295 average, 22 homers, 85 RBI
- Troy Glaus - .265 average, 26 homers, 95 RBI
- Brian McCann - .300 average, 24 homers, 90 RBI
- Yunel Escobar - .310 average, 15 homers, 75 RBI
- Matt Diaz - .300 average, 10 homers, 50 RBI
- Jason Heyward - .300 average, 16 homers, 60 RBI
Not included is Melky Cabrera, who I see with a .275 average, 10 homers, 40 RBI.
Add up all of these homers, and you get around 155 home runs. That would net the Braves about 20th in the majors, around the same as what the Braves hit in 2009. That just isn't good enough.
For some reason, I don't see how writers say "The Braves have completed their major projects this offseason." If the Braves saved $8 million, and will pay Glaus around $3 million, where is all that other money going?
I added the Braves' active roster salaries and got this number: $80 million.
This doesn't seem right at all. Throw in around $5 million in arbitration raises, and you still have $10 million left over.
Xavier Nady anyone? He won't play first base anymore, but he could play left field.
This way, the outfield would be Nady, McLouth, and Heyward. Cabrera would be a fill in, and Diaz would hit against lefties. It would also be an upgrade of about 10 home runs.
By the way, anyone that wants to check my math, here's what I did:
Another interesting thing I would like to see the Braves do is kick the tires on Adrian Gonzalez. The guy is an absolutely huge bat, with 40 homers and a .958 OPS.
The Braves would have to unload the farm system, but I could see this happening:
1B Adrian Gonzalez
P Arodys Vizcaino/Julio Teheran
P Randall Delgado
OF Melky Cabrera
OF Jordan Schafer
That is a lot for the Braves to give up, and if I were Wren, I would do a Roy Halladay kind of thing where I would sign Gonzalez to an extension first.
Any thoughts, guys?