Yesterday, the Braves traded Edgar Renteria to the Detroit Tigers for Jair Jurrjens and Gorkys Hernandez. I don’t think anyone was surprised to see Renteria dealt after Yunel Escobar handled shortstop during Renteria’s injury.
I like the move. Though Edgar is not overpaid—in fact, I won’t be surprised if the Tigers pick up his 2009 option as I have his 2007 valued at $16-$17 million—the Braves want to free up some payroll. The big test is going to be if Escobar plays below his 2007 major league numbers. His minor league numbers don’t lead me to believe that he is quite ready to produce at that level yet; however, I believe he will be an adequate replacement. I wonder how tolerant the fans will be.
Jurrjens is the better prospect in this deal in my mind. He’s the kind of prospect the Braves have needed: a young arm that will be cheap for years to come. He still hasn’t “made it” as big leaguer yet—if he had the Braves wouldn’t have been able to snag him with Renteria—but it’s a gamble the Braves need to take. They need pitching and payroll flexibility. Hernandez is a highly touted prospect, but I don’t know what to expect. I don’t see anything special about him in his stats, but he is quite young. We will see.
A side story is that Renteria returns to the AL, reminding everyone of his down year in Boston. And of course, this comes after one of the best seasons of his career. So, when Renteria’s performance “drops” are we going to hear that “he’s an NL player” garbage again? I hope not. I’ll be cheering for him just so I don’t have to hear people complain about random fluctuations as if they reflect deviations in true ability. A change might reflect this, but I doubt it.