Chavez provides depth to Braves pen
With the medical reviews completed on Friday, the Braves were able to officially announce that they have traded Rafael Soriano to the Rays in exchange for right-handed reliever Jesse Chavez.
My expectation was to return to Atlanta on Thursday night and learn that the deal had been completed. Instead once I got to baggage claim, I needed to send an updated version of the story while perching my laptop on one of the AJC’s newspaper boxes. (Just further proof that newspaper industry does indeed still provide benefits).
Anyhow, Braves general manager Frank Wren seemed encouraged that he was able to gain Chavez’s power arm in exchange for Soriano. Sure it would have been nice to gain the two draft picks that would have been secured had Soriano declined his arbitration offer.
But Chavez stands as a tangible return who has the potential to provide an immediate benefit. Given how quickly Wren was able to make this deal, I don’t think there should be any further debate that he was wise to take the calculated gamble of offering arbitration to Soriano.
“In some regards, this is better than having a draft pick from our point of view,” Wren said. <p>
With an above-average fastball that helped him find consistent success until he seemingly battled some fatigue toward the end of this year’s rookie season, Chavez provides further bullpen depth, which could prove very beneficial as the Braves attempt to keep their top three relievers Peter Moylan, Billy Wagner and Takashi Saito fresh throughout the season.
Since the season concluded, I’ve been somewhat shocked when multiple team officials have talked about how excited they are about Boone Logan’s potential. This isn’t a knock against Logan. There’s no doubt that his talented left arm could prove to be an asset.
Instead, I just can’t understand why they are so optimistic about a reliever that was provided just three more opportunities to pitch after Aug. 26 this past season. And one of those appearances occurred in the 15th inning of the Oct. 4 season finale.
As things currently stand it appears the Braves will begin the 2010 season with a bullpen that includes, Wagner, Saito, Moylan, Eric O’Flaherty, Chavez, Logan and Kris Medlen.
Chavez is certainly an upgrade over Manny Acosta, who will either provide organizational depth or stand as a potential trade piece. But if the Braves are going to move one of their Minor League relievers, Luis Valdez certainly would provide the greater return.
As the Braves continue to indicate Medlen will begin the season in Atlanta’s bullpen, I’m left to wonder what happens if one of their starters goes down in May and he’s not stretched out enough to adequately fill that spot in the rotation.
This question could be answered over the next few days and weeks as teams evaluate those players who are non-tendered before Saturday’s deadline.
The Braves have made numerous attempts to move Kelly Johnson and there are a number of teams that have shown interest. But as we move closer to tomorrow’s deadline, there’s more reason to wonder if he’ll be among the many players who will draw greater attention as non-tenders.