There’s plenty of folks out there – both fans and media members alike – who thought the Atlanta Braves served themselves well by trading shortstop Yunel Escobat and minor-league pitcher Jo-Jo Reyes to the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for 33-year old SS Alex Gonzalez and a pair of prospects.
However, there’s a contingent who feel like the Braves might regret the deal over the long run. Ray Flowers, the fantasy writer for Sports Illustraded, had this to say about the swap in his recent mailbag:
Well…this is a stupid deal to accept. Let me list the reasons why only a moron would agree to this (are you listening, Braves?).
1. Escobar is 27-years old. Gonzalez is 33. This should be a huge consideration.
2. Gonzalez just isn’t a very good hitter. He owns a .248 career batting average and has never, not once, hit above .277 (and that was back in 1999). Escobar, by the way, is a career .291 hitter.
3. Escobar knows how to work the count and get on base. In his career he owns a .368 OBP. Gonzalez owns a career mark of .294 and has never, not once, even been league average in this measure (his best mark is .325 in 2007). That’s right. Gonzalez’s OBP is only three points higher than Escobar’s batting average. You should be embarrassed Alex.
Only time will tell, but for the immediate future, the Braves get a solid defensive presence at shortstop and an upgrade in the locker room.