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.  

24 Comments

Mark, will Conrad replace Norton this year or are they looking for another bat for the bench?

Mark, how many players on the Braves 40 man roster are out of options? Thanks.

Don’t know if the Twins would have any interest in KJ but whether they do or not, I would like to see wren try to acquire Alexi Casilla for some middle infield depth.

Young,cheap switchhitter. Capable of playing 2B,SS and coming off the bench late to hit or pinch run.

Fell out of favor with Gardy.

Would be a decent bench piece.

A 5 man bench that could consist of

Ross-C
Infante-UTL/Jack of all trades
Diaz-OF
Casilla-Middle Infield
Lefty bat something like Gload type

Lets Diory and Conrad toil in AAA in case of injuries.

So long Kelly Johnson. It’s crazy to think that out of the 18 promising rookies that were the Baby Braves, only Brian McCann remains.

wow. guess i wasn’t the only one who think that Church was a mistake and KJ was ruined. Now if we could get someone to take mcLouth off our hands we might be able to get better in the outfield. I hate being right. I liked kelly fine as an individual but he wasn’t gonna get any better in ATL. How many more young batters do we have to ruin before we get s new batting coach?

Not sure about that Rother.

Bobby almost always gravitates toward 2 middle infielders on the bench.

Infante needs to be able to be inserted in the lineup anywhere, anytime any position, without worrying about having a glove capable of being the middle infielder late in the game .

Diaz I suspect would be the emergency catcher. Since he caught in the minors some.

It will be interesting to see it play out. I just don’t think BC will have Infante though as the sole bench player capable of playing middle infield.

Braves had the perfect 3re catcher, pinch hitter in their system and let him get away. Brayan Pena should have been retained in the Norton slot the last two seasons.

Glad to see him dong okay in KC now though.

David, I gotta believe that it would be better for the Braves if it was Infante OR Casilla, not Infante AND Casilla. We just seem to gravitate to a really light hitting bench and it kills us late in games with no pop at all to draw on. Ross can’t PH because he is the Maytag repairman and the Braves don’t have a legit emergency catcher.

The roster will be:

Javier Vazquez
Tim Hudson
Jair Jurrjens
Tommy Hanson
Kenshin Kawakami

Kris Medlen
Jesse Chavez
Boone Logan
Eric O’Flaherty
Peter Moylan
Takashi Saito
Billy Wagner

Brian McCann – C
Xavier Nady – 1B
Martin Prado – 2B
Chipper Jones – 3B
Yunel Escobar – SS
Matt Diaz – LF
Nate McLouth – CF
Jason Heyward – RF

Omar Infante
David Ross
Brooks Conrad
Jordan Schafer/Gregor Blanco
Diory Hernandez

Frank Wren has a knack for not getting the people he wants, we won’t get anything but a couple of prospects for Derek Lowe, and the only reason we’ll land Nady is because he’s coming off injury and no one else want’s him.

So maybe i’m nuts, and I know Milton Bradley has been a cancer in places, but I would love to see the Braves trade for him. He can play RF say Heyward can start the year in the minors(at least until June). Bradley and Szamardjia for Lowe and a Braves minor leaguer, maybe even Schaeffer. Bradley would save us about 4 million each of the next 2 years and 15 million in 3 years plus if it doesn’t work out he may be easier to move next offseason when he only has one year left on his contract. Szamardjia would be another option with Medlen, one could be the long reliever, one could be a starter at AAA. With the money we save we could try to resign Vazquez, or else we would have 2 internal options for down the road. Chipper, McCann, and Bradley with the possibility of signing Nady would make for a pretty good 3 through 6 in the lineup.

why not use blanco in lf prado at 2b trade barbaro canizares jo jo reyes derek lowe and scafer to either detriot for cabrara or san deigo for adrian gonzalez and a player to be named later. place blanco at the leadoff escobar at the 2 hole chipper third a.g . m.b 4th mccann 5th mccouth 6th prado 7th and diaz 7th.

Um, shaunson, when did you see McLouth hitting .300 last year? Leadoff isn’t about batting average, its about OBP and speed. And, most of the time, a left-handed batter, making it easier to get to 1st in time. Last time I checked, Blanco has all of them.

The Bradley idea has some merit–he’s the closest thing to a real slugger on the market. Sheffield came with similar baggage but was pretty much a model citizen during his time with the Braves. I think the Cubs are looking to spend on offense rather than pitching though, so another team would have to be involved for us to move Lowe.
The only deal that pries AGon from the Padres involves parting with Hanson and Heyward–no Padres GM is going to trade their low-priced superstar for another team’s castoffs.

It gets old: people coming on here and submitting their ideas for outlandish trades. Here’s the deal: a) no one WANTS Derek Lowe for his current price, he’s just the best option left, b) no one WANTS Jo-Jo Reyes for any reason, unless it’s Dayton Moore of the Royals grabbing up any Braves “prospect” he can, and c) Gregor Blanco is awful in every way. Gregor Blanco has speed but doesn’t steal bases, is a leadoff hitter but doesn’t hit for ANY average, and leads the planet in Ks every season… not to mention his much less than adequate defense.

Also, Schafer does not need to be traded (right now). He needs at least a season in the minors. I can see an outfield of McLouth, Heyward, and Schafer (all 20/20+ potential) in the future for very low costs.

Also, I love Adam LaRoche, and he would be my first choice over at 1B, but the Xavier Nady idea is a good Plan B. I really haven’t seen anything out of Freddie Freeman: decent average, decent OBP, doesn’t strike out much, back-up middle infielder power… didn’t we want to get rid of Casey Kotchman?

Doesn’t Freeman have a great power potential?

I saw McLouth hit around .265 last year during most of his time in ATL in an injury-plagued, transition-to-a-new-team year. He has good power, great SB%, and ++range in CF (I know, I know, weak arm, but still…). Oh, and he’s NOT Gregor Blanco. Lemme tell you about Gregor Blanco as a “hitter”… career AVG: .245. Total SBs: 15 in 567 ABs. Now lemme tell you about him as a “fielder”… career Rtot (runs above or below league average the player was worth): -17.4. His career Rof (outfield arm above or below league average) is -2. Oh, and he strikes out all the time. Just throwing that out there.

Lackey is signing with the BoSox. The Mariners are picking up Cliff Lee in the 3-way trade that sends Roy Halladay to the Phils. This apprently leaves the Angels as the only suitor for Lowe.

I understand Blanco isn’t what we need, but he’s not terrible. And McLouth has never hit over .280.

And drfill, my thoughts exactly. The Angels are also about to sign Hideki Matsui at a wayyy discounted price.

Wonder if they would be interested in Lowe + 5 million a year for 3 years + Freeman for Kendry Morales? Just a thought…

We’d have a better shot at Lowe, $3-4mil, and a prospect for Juan Rivera, I believe… can’t say thats terrible unless is a top prospect.

$3-4mil/yr, I mean.

However, I do like your idea of selling high on Freddie Freeman. Kendry Morales would be awesome.

I know! They don’t want to re-sign a Gold Glove caliber .280/25-30/85-100 hitting first basemen that could have an impact immediately because of this top prospect we have, that we could also package with Lowe to make the deal more appealing, and it would free up money to extend Vazquez as well.

I also thought the LaRoche decision was odd. He’s reportedly seeking a 3-yr 31mil deal, which makes it unlikely that he would have accpeted the 1 year at 7mil he’d have gotten through arbitration. And even if he did accept, that’s not a bad deal given the dearth of first basemen available.

It does get old. People, no more Kendry Morales-talk. LAA will not give him up. And remember, Morales is a LH hitter, so doesn’t exactly fill the RH need for our team. And what’s with peoples infatuation with Xavier Nady? Dude had one good year way back before a big injury. He’s not a seasoned first baseman and we can do a lot better with so many free agents available. I am a fan of second half-Laroche, but not first half-Laroche. I’d rather none than both if we’re paying $5-7M for both for the season. And I laughed at someone insulting Freddie Freeman by comparing him to Casey Kotchman. Pssh…shows what you know. Freeman hits for much better average and should have 20+ HR capability. And yes, not many can afford Derek Lowe, so if we got anything for him, that’d be great, but what counts most is a team taking his 3-year/$45M price tag off our hands so we can go after a bigger name to solidify the team’s power. Another good thing about the Lee-Halladay trade is PHI is trading away a LH pitcher, which makes our RH hitting needs not as pressing considering they filled his spot with a RH pitcher in Roy Halladay. Now, our LH hitters should have more of an advantage, in theory at least. And if you’re worried about PHI getting one of the best pitchers in the game. Remember NYM getting Santana – a dominant former AL pitcher with a CY Young? He still remains the only stopgap in their rotation. By giving Halladay an extension of 3 years/$60M ($20M per), PHI should have to dump RHP Joe Blanton. With Cole Hamels’ inconsistencies, Jamie Moyer’s age, and JA Happ’s lack of experience, PHI, I think, got less deep with the trade.

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