As a Braves fan, I loathe this trade. I had been discounting all the rumors swirling around Escobar because I figured Wren would not be foolish enough to sell so low on an obviously talented young player. If the organization wanted him gone, they at least should have waited until his offensive numbers rebounded and gotten more value for him. Huge disappointment, and I only hope that it won’t hurt the team this year. It will surely hurt us long term.
As a Braves fan, I do fear Yunel’s potential being realized in Toronto. But in Frank Wren’s defense, if you cannot get a long with Bobby Cox, you should not be on the Braves. Plus, they owe it to Bobby to give the World Series a real run and we could not do that with the way Yunel was (not) producing this year. Toronto can sort out whatever is wrong with Yunel. I’m happy to have Gonzo. Go Braves.
Except every projection system in existence is screaming that Gonzalez is playing over his head and is extremely unlikely to sustain this pace. And they’re saying the exact opposite about Yunel.
If this trade actually constituted a small mortgage of our future for a better chance at a title this season, I could get behind it. After the drought, I am ready to see the Braves playing good baseball in October again. But that’s not what this trade really amounts to. It amounts to mortgaging our future in exchange for an SS who is likely to produce LESS for the rest of this season than Yunel would. It’s bad business and bad baseball all around.
As a Braves fan, I am not disappointed in trading away Escobar. Yes, it is a gamble he hopefully does not return to his previously established level of play for the Jays. He had been very valuable and is still a good defensive shortstop. Though I trust the internal evaluations that likely led to this trade. Escobar looked noticeably out of shape this year compared to prior years as he had packed on the pounds. Except the total loss of power indicated that extra weight was not muscle at all. Some of the on-field antics indicated a lack of maturity that was tolerable when we had no realistic shot at the playoffs, but in the heat of a pennant race could not be tolerated.
Comment by Phantom Stranger — July 14, 2010 @ 1:48 pm
I have a suspicion Escobar could be the best shortstop in the division by next year.
I think it’s pretty obvious Escobar is going to turn back to his normal self soon and same with Gonzalez and neither of the prospects will amount to anything and the Braves are going to be eating crow in 2012 with A-Gonz walks and gives no picks cause I already said he’s going to be a pumpkin earlier so it’s a total and easy lose for the Bravos and AA has another steal awesome.
First off, I disagree with the implication that Giles leaving was anything less than the guy had run out of steam, he played like a half season of pro ball after Atl cut ties.
Second, if you go back 2 years every single stats guy criticized Atl for their faith in Escobar. They called him a .280 hitter with empty batting average. I have a hard time seeing how two years of above average power that still fell within expected variance of average has so dramatically changed everybody’s mind on him, especially when the player in question was 25-26 and 26-27 at the time.
I don’t understand this move from the Braves’ perspective. Pitching & defense wins championships. The Braves just got weaker defensively.
Gonzalez has had a career 1st half & Escobar has had a horrible 1st half. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Escobar outhit Gonzalez in the 2nd half. If so, the Braves got weaker both offensively & defensively. Does that outweigh Escobar clashing with Cox? I doubt it.
I love the moves the Braves have made over the past year or so, but I think this move will backfire on them.
Comment by Cheeseburgers — July 14, 2010 @ 2:01 pm
I’m not convinced that Escobar will turn it around, but there is no question that Gonzalez will hit 4 home runs to go along with his sparkling .290 OBP.
What evidence is there that the Braves dabble in sabermetrics? Schuerholz’s book takes pot shots at the “computer kids” and Wren seems to follow that mold. Every front office pawn that has come from Atlanta has been strangely militant against the idea of statistical analysis (see Moore, Dayton).
1. The Braves are not going to bring in a manager better at handling players than Bobby. It does not matter that he is gone. It will get no better – manager most players want to play for in the entire league.
2. Watching Yunel this year has made me lose all faith. He simply does not hustle and constantly looks downtrodden. I believe he will be a talented pain in the ass for years to come, always a great defender and we will see what happens to his power stroke. I just won’t miss him.
The Braves got ripped off big here. Escobar still has some good years left even if this year is lost. Gonzalez is having a far outlier year. There isn’t much evidence he can keep it up the rest of the year much less a year from now.
This has the potential to be an epic trade for the Blue Jays. There isn’t a jays fan in the world that likes Collins and Pastornicky more than me but they just aren’t high upside guys at all. Collins could be a solid reliever and Pastornicky projects as a utility infielder which isn’t bad but not what you really need in the AL East.
This was an awful trade for the Braves. I to this day think the problems Escobar had were way overblown by the fans and media in Atlanta. The Braves have no leaders in the clubhouse in my mind. In his half season in Atlanta Billy Wagner seems to be the only leader on the team. It doesn’t make sense to trade away a young shortstop who has outplayed the guy you just brought in. I think this trade will backfire and I hope Escobar has success in the future because I think he got a bad rap in Atlanta. Heck, when Escobar plays great he “is the reason we traded Elvis Andrus” according to Braves fans. When he isn’t hitting well, they just usually make racial jokes or slurs about him. I wish Yunel the best in Toronto. Jays fans give the guy a chance, you will love what you are getting if you don’t get caught in the overblown ideas Braves fans will put in your mind!
I’d have thought that one of the things this site would eschew is numerical hyperbole of the *a million times* variety. Leaving aside that I don’t think there’s necessarily a great case for saying that Escobar has a massively better track record (decided edge as a defender to Escobar but both are 27-year-olds with attitude issues and it’s easy to forget that Encarnacion has always posted strong walk rates, strong power numbers, and Age 24 and 25 seasons that were quite promising), employing the phrase *a million times* is a complete inanity for a statistican.
Putting aside the virtues of the phrasing “a million times”, I think it’s fair to say that Escobar has been significantly better than Encarnacion in the period leading up to their respective Toronto acquisitions.
Escobar has been worth a bit more than twice as many wins as Encarnacion over the 3-year period preceeding their trades.
Comment by Alan Marshall — July 14, 2010 @ 4:37 pm
i always read the chat after an article but this is the first time i’ve ever commented – because this is the most mature bunch of comments i’ve ever read – well done people – guess i’ll be visiting fangraphs more often …
and since i’m commenting – wow AA is doing a great job for the blue jays whether it was going to work out for yunel in atlanta or not its almost a complete no risk move for the jays with high reward potential – seems simple but its been years since the jays had a GM who understood that –
The problems Cox had with Escobar were not just a matter of clashing personalities. Look at the cause of those clashes. I hope Jays fans are ready for a guy who won’t run out ground balls, who has endless mental lapses in the field, and who refuses to adjust to opposing pitchers. His production is down because his attitude sucks. As a Braves fan, I was ready to send him packing and letting Infante play SS. Sabremetrics be damned.
The Braves’ leaders are Brian McCann and Tim Hudson. Wagner is a veteran and a HOF closer, but he ain’t the Braves’ leader. I would also argue that there are a lot of guys who play the game with a lot of heart and hustle; guys like Diaz and Prado, who show more leadership in their approach to playing than with their words, are great leaders. Escobar was a hot-shot, but he is an attitude problem and he is a lazy player. I’d rather have anybody who will play hard than a brat with all the upside in the world!
I’d love to hear people describe some of the “endless mental lapses,” to me which I keep hearing about. Seems to me they’re largely upset because Yunel missed a pop-up that he lost in the lights a couple of days ago.
The one valid complaint I’ve heard is that he didn’t take the time to make the most crisp throw to Troy Glaus on a groundball, forcing Glaus off the bag and getting his wrist slammed into by the runner. Beyond that, he’s out there working hard and making great defensive plays for the team and has very few lapses.
Exactly my point. People quote ZIPS like they are the real stats and act like the real stats are meaningless. Don’t get me wrong, I think this was a classic buy low, sell high move for Toronto and I give them their props, I think it is likely that Yunel and Sea Bass will have similar Post ASG numbers… but quoting ZIPS is worthless. It’s a nice little projection for players and I look forward to it every season, but it has absolutely no bearing on how players will actually perform. None. Zero.
a couple of weeks ago he just topped running on a ball he could have scored on, realized it, acted like he hurt his hammy and then was magically fine the next inning. There are a million examples of this happening. I really love when people who don’t watch Braves games keep saying “you’re upset about one time”
i am an avid braves fan and watch every game. i continue to have very mixed feelings about this deal. escobar has a poor attitude and does consistently fail to hustle. this clearly is not the “braves/bobby cox way.” that having been said, there seems so little potential for gonzalez to keep hitting homers at his current clip, and surely escobar will return to some semblance of the guy who carried the offense in the second half last year when the braves played well.
prospects aside, the braves clearly made this trade for chemistry reasons which is brilliant if you are buster olney and ridiculous if you are keith law. i didn’t respect escobar for the way he played the game, but the raw potential is clearly there and if he can somehow channel it the jays will have fleeced the braves here.
one more thing, my accountant works with the club and has had a conversation in english with escobar. this complaint about his fluency is total crap. with the amount of latino and japanese players in baseball these days, language issues are moot
I live in Atlanta and I hate that the Braves traded Yunel. There are a lot of players on the Braves roster that struggled this year, so it’s not about performance. Chipper is still not producing consistently, but you don’t see him being traded. There was a chemistry issue, that was obvious just watching things unfold in the dugout.
I know that Yunel will do well in Toronto, in fact I just signed up for MLB.com so that I can continue to follow his career. It’s a matter of time before he turns things around, you can’t keep a good player down for long.
You’re right, there are various different metrics, and there is no one metric that is perfect. My point was I don’t think the Braves ultimately got a lot weaker defensively, if at all. I love the trade for Toronto regardless.