December 03, 2008

Javy Vazquez

Wow, interesting Braves trade for Javy Vazquez. Vazquez is a solid veteran pitcher, but I can't say that I'm a huge fan of this move. What exactly is Javy Vazquez going to do for the Braves next year?? Unless Wren is planning to make a few significant moves this offseason to make the Braves contenders right away, this trade seems like a waste. Plus, they gave up one of their better prospects in Tyler Flowers. They aren't really ready to compete with the Mets or the Phillies, so why not get on with a rebuilding process?? If anything, the Braves should be looking to unload some of their veterans for young guns. Going out and bringing in Javy Vazquez just prolongs their current mediocrity. He makes them a little better, but does he put them on a path toward a division title?? No. And they're going to be paying him $11.5 million the next two years, so he puts a dent in payroll flexibility.

Perception is everything though I guess. Five years ago, I would have been singing the praises of John Schuerholz for "stealing" Javy Vazquez and predicting that he would revive his career under the tutelage of Bobby Cox. Now, it just looks like lipstick on a pig. Frank Wren is no Schuerholz, so it's hard to give him the benefit of the doubt here.


Matt said...

Doug - My thoughts as a Braves fan are pretty much right in line with yours. The trade isn't terrible - Flowers is a legit prospect that was more than likely never going to play in Atlanta with McCann entrenched. But with the lack of catching around baseball I wonder if he didn't have more value than an apparently washed up Vazquez. JoJo Reyes may well go on to a decent career (I don't see it, but who know), but the guy was not going to do it in Atlanta. The Braves gave him two seasons and he was beyond awful. They couldn't justify running him out there again to get his brains beat in. I hope he does well in Chicago, but the Braves are historically good at determining when a guy just isn't going to make it and trading him away at the right time.

But this trade is symbolic of a bigger problem that the Braves have had really since Schuerholz stepped down. They seem to have no direction. Are they rebuilding? Are they trying to compete with the Mets and Phillies? Instead of half-assing the rebuilding, I think they either should have gone all in and traded for Peavy and signed Burnett/Lowe, or horded their prospects and prepared for a run in 2010 or 2011 with Tommy Hanson, Chuck Morton, Jair Jurrjens Jordan Schafer, Yunel Escobar, Gorkys Hernandez, Jason Heyward and others. Personally, I would be ok if the Braves sucked for a year or two but knew that reinforcements were on the way - I didn't think that trading for Peavy was the right move and I'm glad that talk is over.

As it is, they now traded away one of their beter propects for a washed up innings eater. Maybe the move back to the National League will help Vazquez, but I think he's done.

Matt said...

Hmm - i guess JoJo wasn't traded. I thought in the early reports he was in the deal. Even better the Braves gave up a young arm that already is throwing in the high 90's. I have zero confidence that Frank Wren knows what he is doing.