So the Braves traded for Bob Wickman yesterday… Eh.
When your bullpen is as bad as the Braves’s is, any help can seem like a good thing. But Wickman isn’t an oasis in the desert, he’s a dew drop on a leaf. Couple that with the fact that the Braves will pay him a guaranteed $2 million, possibly $3 million with games pitched incentives. He gets an $150K bonus for pitching 50, $250K for 55, and $300K each for hitting 60 and 65. So far, Wickman has pitched in 29 games, which puts him on a pace to throw about 50. However, given the state of the bullpen, I think Wickman may see a lot of action soon. Even Chad Poronto, who didn’t join the team until the second week of May, has appeared in 34 games. Remlinger appeared in 36. Why is a GM who puckered up so tightly during the offseason so willing to part with over $2 million for half a season of mediocre pitching?
John Schuerholz thinks highly of his new acquisition.
He’s a stud, and he’s a guy that’s been successful in that job year after year after year.
Wickman’s career year last year was a DIPS miracle. His 2.27 ERA was well below his FIP of 4.53. Remember Jorge Sosa? Many commentators have pointed out that Wickman’s been a bit unlucky this year with a 4.18 ERA. That’s true, his FIP is 3.65, which is slightly better than last year. But most of that is due to his only allowing one home run. I actually like guys who are stingy with the long ball; however, keeping balls in the park isn’t something Wickman is particularly good at. He’s allowed 1.27 HR9 the past two years. Not good. His strikeouts have fallen some this year too, but it’s hard to know what this means due to the small sample.
In addition to paying Wickman’s hefty salary the Braves also gave up the rights to Low-A prospect Max Ramirez. Ramirez has played well, but he’s still very low in the system. He probably should be a little higher, but the depth of the Braves system at catcher keeps him where he is. Some people have argued that it’s no loss for the Braves since they are so deep at catcher. If you own five Ferraris do you sell one for $100 when you determine that you have too many? I’m not saying Ramirez was a bad player for the Braves to give up, but a glut at a position doesn’t justify trading a player for discount price.
Wickman may pitch well in Atlanta, and I suspect he will make the pen better. But giving up a decent minor league prospect for an expensive half-year rental is something I’d have preferred the Braves didn’t do. I wish the Braves had saved the money for next year. Please oh please, don’t tell me the Braves are only 4.5 games out of the wild card. So what? I don’t see any reason to see this team rising above the other ten clubs still within reach.