I’ll trade you, but no take-backs!

As those that have followed the Braves rise to the top and subsequent slide back to the middle of the pack over the past two decades, one would notice that many of the key acquisitions during this time have come via the trade. It is a part of baseball that garners anticipation, excitement and sometimes disappointment for an organization and its fans.

I thought it would be fun to look at some of my favorite Braves trades, and some of my not-so-favorites, because we may have some trading fun to talk about here in the near future. I always like to hear the bad news first, so I can enjoy the good news a littler more… or at least temper my expectations. Here goes:

Top 5 Least Favorite Braves Trades:

10_player_trade.png5. Ryan Klesko, Bret Boone & Jason Shiell  to the San Diego Padres in exchange for Reggie Sanders, Quilvio Veras & Wally Joyner

Sanders was utterly terrible in his one season with the Braves while Veras tore an ACL and never appeared in the majors again after Atlanta. Despite there being no way to know these things would happen, Klesko, just 28 at the time, was a part of three World Series team and a product of the system. Boone had been the big off-season acquisition just one season earlier, so why trade these central pieces coming off a World Series appearance?

4. Jermaine Dye & Jamie Walker to the Kansas City Royals for Michael Tucker & Keith Lockhart

Here’s one where you can just say,”what if?” What if the Braves had held on to Jermaine Dye? Would he be the same player he became in Kansas City after some struggles? He’d more than likely have contributed at least as much as Tucker (the 10th overall pick in the ’92 draft) did in his two season with Atlanta. Lockhart proved to have the most staying power, lasting six seasons as a chief reserve and pinch-hitter. Hardly an even up swap for Dye and his 286 homers since 1997.

3. Adam Wainwright and Ray King to the St. Louis Cardinals for J.D. Drew and Eli Marrero

This is one reason the Braves find themselves looking for two front-line starting pitchers this off-season. J.D. Drew has moved on to greener pastures twice since having a career year for Atlanta in 2004. And I’m just going to say it now, Drew was not the second coming of Mickey Mantle. All Wainwright has done is prove the scouts that signed him right, developing into a staff ace by the age of 25. Too bad he doing so for the St. Louis Cardinals.

2. David Justice and Marquis Grissom to the Cleveland Indians for Kenny Lofton and Alan Embree

This is the ultimate in head-shakers. I couldn’t fathom the logic as a teenager and I still struggle to find anyone who would do this deal. Granted, Lofton was the ultimate lead-off hitter in 1997 and not the rent-a-player of the past seven or eight years, but still. Justice, who’s homer gave the Braves their lone World Series title of the 90s, was coming off an injury-plagued season but was still a potent middle of the order threat. Grissom was a consummate professional and still, in my opinion, every bit the center fielder Lofton ever was… and then some. To make matters worse, all three men would be playing in the same outfield in 1998… when Lofton signed a free-agent contract with Cleveland. Ouch. Atlanta did get 86 appearances out of Embree though. Heck of a silver lining.

1. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Elvis Andrus, Matt Harrison, Beau Jones and Neftali Feliz to the Texas Rangers for Mark Teixeira and Ron Mahay

We have not even seen this trade bear fruit for the Texas Rangers, but it may be the deal that just keeps on getting worse for Atlanta. Teixeira was dealt away for Casey Kotchman and Stephen Marek almost a year to the day later. Would you do that prospect buffet deal for Kotchman? Me neither. Of all the deals I’ve covered here, this is a trade that simply should have never been made. Teixeira turned down an 8-year $140 million extension from the Rangers and I would have to say that common sense logic would dictate the Braves would have to pony-up even more to keep him. Mahay bounced to Kansas City for a richer deal than the Braves wanted to give him, so the Braves really came out of this deal having seriously depleted their rich farm system for a calender year of Teixeira and 30 appearances from a 36-year old left-hander.

In Closing…

Boras.jpgThe Braves may not have known that Teixeira had already turned down that extension, but this trade was unable to push Atlanta in the play-offs. Maybe it was just all the poor luck of injuries this season that forced Frank Wren‘s hand when it came to trading Teixeira. Maybe it was Scott Boras and his hope of a $200 million pay-day for his client that forced the deal. If it underscores anything, it is that there are no promises in the game in this day and age. Even a player who spent his college years in Atlanta wants what he has coming. That’s why Boras claims a nice finder’s fee for that big contract Tex has coming.

So who is ready for a big trade this off-season?

Up next, my Top-5 Favorite Braves trades of the past 20 years.

Till then,

G-Mc

2 Comments

Man, I still cringe over the Teixeira trade as well as the David Justice trade. Those were overall just bad. The Braves didn’t have much use for Saltalamacchia and he was a hot commodity as a switch-hitting catcher (2nd fastest route to the bigs, behind LHP), so they should’ve used him to acquire some good pitching. It also doesn’t make Frank Wren feel any better that Neftali Feliz (not Perez) has been hitting 101 on the radar gun with a fairly great deal of consistency this past season. Andrus was our best infield prospect and Harrison was one of the best pitching prospects in the organization (left handed too). Jones was, well, a throw in; but that doesn’t help the fact that we sold half the farm for nothing. Literally nothing. We got Kotchman (who I don’t like) and Stephen Merek (P.S. this trade has to involve the most complicated spelling names in the history of trades: Teixeira Saltalamacchia, Neftali, Merek, give me a break), who has actually been tearing it up since coming to the organization. We’ll see if Merek can sustain his good numbers at the next level.

By the way, I 100% agree we shouldn’t trade Tommy Hanson. He is a truly exciting pitching prospect, something the Braves haven’t had since Feliz. Hanson’s ceiling is a 1-2 starter and there’s no reason he won’t have an opening day roster spot in 2010. I also think we shouldn’t trade Escobar. Escobar was 3rd in the majors in OBP among short stop and he was the 2nd best defensive short stop in the NL (Jimmy Rollins edged him out a few days before the season ended). He plays a premium position VERY well and gets on base a lot. I’d be just as happy without Peavy if we could keep Escobar. Though I’m really keen on the Ludwick/KJ Swap.

Nice post. Hopefully we can stay away from Scott Boras clients in the future. Though Mr. Jurrjens is represented by Boras which sort of makes me cry.

http://atlantabred.mlblogs.com/

What a debacle that spelling was. The Felix typo was a mental lapse, but I could have sworn I got Marek’s name right. They’re all right now at least!

I’m alright with the idea of the Ludwick swap, but I really think the Peavy trade will take the number one priority slot. In some ways, I think Kelly Johnson would give the Braves the most offensive power up the middle. Escobar is a fine player, but it seems like the Braves could take a shot on the free agent market while the develop a better young option. Edgar Renteria for a season wouldn’t bother me at all. It seems somewhat clear that he is not an AL player, and I really enjoyed his play here.

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