Orioles centerfielder Adam Jones
It's been about two months since the Atlanta Braves infamous September collapse. Since then, to most fan's satisfaction, the Braves freed up some cap space with a Derek Lowe trade, they opted not to offer Alex Gonzalez arbitration, and they signed a Rule 5 Draft pitcher. No big acquisitions.
In the meantime, fans have been bombarded all winter with rumors of Jair Jurrjens and Martin Prado being used as trade bait. While Frank Wren denies actively shopping the two, one must feel that he is at least seeing what he can get for the two players.
The latest rumor includes a trade the Orioles proposed that would send Jair Jurrjens, Martin Prado, and two other top pitching prospects to Baltimore for center fielder Adam Jones. Atlanta declined, but lets evaluate the pieces and see why.
Atlanta Braves fans are said to overvalue Jurrjens while the Orioles fans are said to overvalue Jones. However, the Orioles need pitching and the Braves have got it.
There is no doubt that a healthy Jair Jurrjens has proven more successful than Adam Jones has, but the problem is keeping Jair healthy. Over the last two seasons, he has been limited to 43 starts because of reoccurring knee injuries. However, in his last full season, 2009, he posted a 2.60 ERA in 215 innings, while limiting opponents to a .237 batting average. Last season, before injuries, he had a major league best 1.87 ERA at the All-Star break.
However, considering that the Braves could use another hitter more than another pitcher, I could see a straight swap benefiting the Braves.
Jair Jurrjens for Adam Jones seems pretty fair, although I feel that Baltimore is too far out of contention for Jair alone to benefit them. Therefore, that deal would never happen.
The Braves super utility man Martin Prado was arguably the most valuable player for Atlanta in 2010, and he has proven that he can play third base, second base, and left field. Considering that Chipper Jones has only played in 221 games over the past 2 seasons, Prado can be that insurance whenever Chipper gets injured. He also plays a solid left field and has a lifetime .293 batting average, which includes his lackluster 2011 second half performance.
Compared to Adam Jones, Martin Prado's career numbers dominates in the majority of hitting categories. Adam Jones has a career .275 batting average, .319 on base percentage, .437 slugging percentage, while Prado has a career .293 batting average, .341 on base percentage, and .434 slugging percentage. Prado has also never struck out over 100 times in a season, while Jones has done the feat three times.
The only clear advantage that Adam Jones has over Martin Prado is that he can play center field, which is a position that the Braves may need to fill if they are unable to resign Michael Bourn.
Other than that, although his ceiling may not be as high, Martin Prado has proven to be the better player. It would be difficult even trade Prado for Jones straight up.
The others consists of Mike Minor, Julio Teheran, Arodys Vizcaino, Brandon Beachy, and Randall Delgado.
We all know that Atlanta is stingy with its pitching, but I don't see how Baltimore would expect any of these guys. Especially after Atlanta would not part with them at the deadline for a man like Hunter Pence. Also, if Atlanta parted with three pitchers, who would they have to start next season?
Hudson, Hanson, Beachy, Vizcaino, and Delgado for example. Four of those pitchers hardly proved that they could pitch five innings a start last season, and Tim Hudson will be coming back from back surgery.
Their depth would be completely destroyed, not to mention that the Braves are cautious about Hanson's recovery from shoulder tendinitis. The deal would ultimately make no sense for Atlanta.
However, you can't fault Baltimore for asking. It is clear that they have no real intentions of trading Adam Jones, but I wonder why the Braves would really want him anyways.
He is a right-hander with reverse splits and considering that the Braves struggle against southpaws, it seems very unlikely that he would benefit the team much. The Braves should continue to stand pat until the right deal comes along