The Braves and White Sox made one of the first big trades of the offseason.
Braves get: Javier Vazquez, Boone Logan.
White Sox get: Tyler Flowers, Brent Lillibridge, Jon Gilmore, Santos Rodriguez.
It's too early to tell if any side wins or loses on this trade. There are too many uncertain parts, including the centerpiece, Javier Vazquez.
The winner of this trade will be decided in the future and here's some things to consider about it.
Why it's a good trade for the White Sox
The White Sox want to get younger and they got a good part of the young talent on the Braves.
Tyler Flowers has hit as well as any catching prospect in the past year. He has great strike zone management and he can make contact better than a lot of major league catchers.
Flowers will not be ready for the majors next year. He will start in AA in 2009 and he should be ready once AJ Pierzynski's contract expires after 2010.
Brent Lillibridge fills the void at shortstop, giving the White Sox a lot of range up the middle with Alexei Ramirez at second base.
Lillibridge has the speed that the White Sox are craving, not to mention he hit pretty well in AAA during 2007. His hitting regressed a bit in 2008, but Lillibridge is still considered a great prospect.
They are seemingly set at two premium positions for the long run, acquiring their catcher and shortstop of the future.
Not to mention they got Vazquez's two year $23 million off their hands. The White Sox could inquire on cutting more salary and building for the future.
Why it's a good trade for the Braves
Flowers and Lillibridge had no future with the Braves. They are already set at those positions with Brian McCann and Yunel Escobar.
And who knows if Gilmore and Rodriguez will ever be any good?
And now the thought of a trio of Vazquez, Jair Jurrjens and Tommy Hanson could be enough for the top of the Braves rotation.
This almost eliminates the idea of giving Burnett the overblown contract he'll inevitably receive or trading premium prospects like Hanson and Jason Heyward for Jake Peavy.
Vazquez is durable and can strike batters out as well as anyone. He can play like an ace at times. And perhaps Ted Turner can cover Vazquez's contract.
Why it's a bad trade for the White Sox
Flowers and Lillibridge have upside, but their flaws are just as evident.
Flowers is abysmal defensively and projects to be a first baseman in the future.
Lillibridge is getting less and less patient at the plate, lowering his walk total and increasing his strikeouts every year. His OBP in the minors this year was only .294.
While this trade also might not help out the White Sox in the future, it also makes their biggest team need even greater.
The White Sox made the playoffs last season, but they didn't have much of a chance at making it far in October.
Why? Because John Danks and Gavin Floyd weren't gonna carry them the whole way. It's just not possible. And Mark Buehrle? Buehrle had a 5.05 ERA on the road. He wasn't very reliable.
The White Sox rotation needed more depth for them to be a true contender. And trading away Vazquez takes away some of that depth.
Why it's a bad trade for the Braves
Is Vazquez worth the money? He may not be given that the Braves may not be competitive for the two years he's signed for.
Let's be realistic. Vazquez is gonna reach 3,000 strikeouts, but he's never been an ace pitcher.
Peavy is the superior player and giving up the unproven prospects might have been worth it for a talent like him, especially since he's signed below market value at five years $81 million.
Vazquez gives up a lot of fly balls. He has been in the top ten in home runs allowed for six of the past seven years.
He also isn't gonna win the Braves a lot of postseason games if they make it that far. Vazquez has a career postseason 10.34 ERA is six appearances. Even Ozzie Guillen called him out on his big game performances.
And is he even that great a pitcher? His road ERA in the past five years: 5.79, 4.39(in a year where the NL West sucked while he was with the D-Backs), 4.96, 3.92, 5.10.
Can Vazquez compete in the NL East? That division is full of teams with plate discipline, while Vazquez thrives off fooling hitters by throwing his curveball outside the zone.
He has starts where he strikes out practically everyone he sees and then games where he loads the bases every other inning.
I wrote this article because I was undecided as to who got the better of this trade. It will be a lot more evident in the future.
Everyone involved in this trade has question marks following them.
I want to hear your thoughts. Who got the better of the deal?
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