The Atlanta Braves Make Two Great Moves…

Adam BernacchioAnalyst IIIJune 4, 2009

CHICAGO - APRIL 19:  Nate McLouth #13 of the Pittsburgh Pirates stands ready at bat during the MLB game against the Chicago Cubs on April 19, 2008 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

The Atlanta Braves aren’t messing around this year. They want to win as badly as any team in the majors. They proved that in the offseason when they revamped their pitching staff by adding Derek Lowe, Kenshin Kawakami and Javier Vazquez.

And after the two moves they made yesterday, they have a just as good a chance of winning as any team in the majors.

In my post about Tom Glavine’s comeback attempt the other day, here is what I wrote.

“Here is the question for Braves fans….Would you rather have 43 year old Tom Glavine as your #5 starter or 22 year old phenom Tommy Hanson? Me personally, I would rather have Tommy Hanson.At this point in his career, you know what you are going to get with Glavine. Maybe five innings, seven to eight hits, four runs, no walks and one or two K’s. Nothing great. Hanson on the other hand, is currently 3-3 with a 1.49 ERA with 82 K’s in 60.1 IP for Triple A Gwinnett and most scouts view Hanson as a potential #1 or #2 starter. He looks like the real deal.”

Apparently, the Braves felt the same way I did. In a move that came out of nowhere, the Braves released Tom Glavine and called up 22 year old phenom Tommy Hanson. This is a great move.

Of course there are going to be people out there who wanted to see Tom Glavine pitch with the Braves again because well, he is “Tom Glavine.” But the Braves are trying to win this year, not 15 years ago. Tommy Hanson gives the Braves a much better chance of winning this year than Tom Glavine does.

Hanson will start on Saturday against the Brewers. Nothing like getting your feet wet against Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder and the rest of the Brewer mashers.

The other great move the Braves made yesterday was the acquisition of Pirates CF, Nate McLouth. The Braves acquired Nate McLouth for prospects Charlie Morton, Gorkys Hernandez and Jeff Locke. This is an absolute STEAL for the Braves!!

McLouth is very close to entering the Paul Molitor HOF of “players if they played in NY, LA or Boston would be superstars.” A couple of more years like the one he had last year (.276/26/94) and he will be inducted. He is that good.

McLouth is a superb player. He can hit, he can run and plays one heck of a CF. McLouth will fit perfectly into the Braves’ lineup and more importantly into their clubhouse. McLouth is known around the majors as a hard-nosed type player and has been liked by his teammates at every level he has been at.

And here is the best part of this deal for the Braves. McLouth was signed to a very cost friendly three–year, $15.75M contract this past offseason.

Which means the Braves will have him under control till at least 2011. If my math serves me correctly, and I think it does. The Braves will only pay a potential All Star around $5M a year for the next three years. That works me for.

As for the prospects the Braves gave up, they are nothing special. Even though Charlie Morton was 7-2 with a 2.51 ERA for Triple-A Gwinnett this year, he struggled at major league level last year posting a 4-8 record with a 6.15 ERA. Baseball America didn’t rank Morton among the Braves’ top 10 prospects in either 2006, 2007, 2008 or 2009.

Gorkys Hernandez and Jeff Locke were both top 10 prospects in the Braves’ farm system.

Hernandez was the No. 4 prospect in their system and Locke was their No. 7 ranked prospect according to Baseball America. However most scouts and analysts view Tommy Hanson, Jordan Schafer, Jason Heyward, Freddie Freeman and Kris Medlin as better major league prospects.

The Braves are once again on the warpath and look to be a serious player come September and October. If I was a Mets fan right now now? I would be seriously worried. With the moves the Braves made yesterday, they are now a better team.

The NL East should be one heck of a three-team race down the stretch.