All about the Braves and baseball events.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Braves Net Lee From Cubs To Shore Up First Base


1B Derrek Lee (475 PA, .251/.335/.416, 16 HR, 63 R, 56 RBI, 94 OPS+)


RRP Robinson Lopez (A Rome - 92 2/3 IP, 84 H, 51-45 R-ER (4.37 ERA), 43 BB, 70 K, 1.371 WHIP
RRP Tyrelle Harris (A/A+/AA - 49 2/3 IP, 38 H, 17-16 R-ER (2.90 ERA), 22 BB, 60 K, 1.208 WHIP
LRP Jeff Lorick (A/A+ - 52 1/3 IP, 43 H, 25-13 R-ER (2.24 ERA), 21 BB, 43 K, 1.223 WHIP)

With the platoon of Eric Hinske and Troy Glaus not totally cutting it at first base (507 PA, .238/.339/.413, 19 HR, 80 RBI) and with Glaus going on the disabled list, Braves general manager Frank Wren decided to pull out the stops for a waiver claim.

The Braves traded three minor league relievers to the Chicago Cubs for first baseman Derrek Lee and cash. Lee, a 14-year veteran, has battled back problems this season. Still, he has posted a .251/.335/.416 line in 475 PAs with 16 home runs and 56 RBIs, effectively matching the production of Glaus and Hinske.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Old Buddies Become Trade Partners

CF Rick Ankiel (101 PA, .261/.317/.467, 4 HR, 14 R, 15 RBI, 103 OPS+)
RRP Kyle Farnsworth (44 2/3 IP, 40 H, 13-12 R-ER (2.42 ERA), 12 BB, 36 K, 1.164 WHIP)

RRP Jesse Chavez (36 2/3 IP, 40 H, 24 R-ER (5.89 ERA), 12 BB, 29 K, 1.418 WHIP)
CF Gregor Blanco (66 PA, .310/.394/.362, 0 HR, 9 R, 3 RBI, 107 OPS+)
LRP Tim Collins (AA Mississippi - 8 IP, 4 H, 1 R-ER (1.12 ERA), 3 BB, 14 K, 0.875 WHIP)

The Braves have traded outfielder Gregor Blanco, reliever Jesse Chavez and pitching prospect Tim Collins to the Royals for veteran outfielder Rick Ankiel and reliever Kyle Farnsworth.

I can only imagine the amount of venom some Braves fans have placed into their posted words this afternoon and evening when learning about the trade. Frank Wren traded for the very same Kyle Farnsworth that single-handedly lost the NLDS for the Braves five years ago?! Has he lost his mind?!

Not quite. In fact, on this trading deadline day, Wren has kept his mind quite sane by not giving up any of Atlanta's prized prospects. In the days leading up to the deadline, worries abounded that Wren would trade any of Freddie Freeman (Baseball America's #32 pre-2010 prospect), Arodys Vizcaino (#69), Mike Minor or Randall Delgado to beef up the Braves' outfield production. That is one way to look at the day's work.

Another way is to compare Rick Ankiel directly to the Braves' previous center field producers before this afternoon's game in Cincinnati:

Nate McLouth - 216 PA, .160/.275/.254, 3 HR, 20 R, 14 RBI
Melky Cabrera - 135 PA, .305/.381/.432, 0 HR, 14 R, 11 RBI
Gregor Blanco - 62 PA, .291/.371/.327, 0 HR, 8 R, 3 RBI

Cabrera's line looks strong because he has been the Braves' latest center fielder. But, the rest of his lines, including .242/.289/.325 (128 PA) as a left fielder and .222/.286/.317 (72 PA) as a right fielder, drag his stats down to .265/.328/.366 before today's game.

That doesn't fully prove my case, but the anecdotal evidence of Cabrera committing a bizarre throwing error in today's game might help the idea that the Braves could do better in center field.

Rick Ankiel, who may be the Braves' starting center fielder for the remainder of the season, spent more than a month on the disabled list with a right quad strain. Once again, the Braves have acquired a player with more home runs than the previous player(s) at the position (Ankiel 4, Braves CFs 3). He is better in the small sample size (11 XBH in 101 PAs to Cabrera's 23 in 346 PAs), so he could improve the Braves in that department if he keeps the same rate.

While some Braves fans still haven't forgiven Farnsworth for surrendering a game-tying home run to Brad Ausmus, the likelihood is that he's not going to get the opportunity to screw something like that up. In 37 games with the Royals, Farnsworth was relied upon heavily, pitching 44 2/3 innings. His ERA (2.42) was mostly helped by pitching more than one inning in eleven appearances (1.29 ERA in 21 innings).

However, out of the 99 relievers that have 200 or more appearances since 2006, Farnsworth has the 19th-worst ERA (4.19) and has given up 37 home runs over that span. Fortunately, he has only allowed two this year. and hasn't given up a home run in nearly two months.

In my opinion, I think Ankiel and Farnsworth can improve the Braves in center field and middle relief at the minimal cost to the club's plans (Tim Collins).