So Long, Edgar

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.

4 Responses “So Long, Edgar”

  1. Trent McBride says:

    Well, it wil be garbage if, by “he’s an NL player”, they mean “he’s suited to the style of play in the NL”, but not if they mean “the NL is a significantly inferior league.”

    By the way, I am sure this is just cyclical and a coincidence, but have we ever had a time where they three major leagues had such a disparity between the two leagues/conferences. It’s just bizarre how the AL, AFC, and Western conference are so superior to their counterparts. I think you can safely say that in the past year the four best teams in the whole league (in all three) come from one conference.

    It’s made for some pretty crappy championships – sweeps in baseball and basketball and a blowout in the superbowl. I don’t see this getting better anytime soon.

  2. Marc Schneider says:

    Trent,

    I have wondered about that myself and how can these disparities exist with a common draft and so forth. You would think the leagues/conferences would be basically equal with slight variations because you have the same talent pool for players, coaches, executives, etc. It really is strange.

    As for Renteria being a NL player, one of the issues when he was in Boston was that he made a lot of errors. But I don’t see how making errors has anything to do with league, unless the American League infields are more difficult to play. If you can field, you should be able to field anywhere. And while the AL is obviously the superior league, not all NLers have struggled in the AL. Josh Beckett seems to have done ok. I just think Edgar had a bad year and possibly wasn’t suited to playing under the insane pressure in Boston.

  3. Ron says:

    Escobar makes contact and takes walks, so I’m not very worried about a huge dropoff. He won’t be ’05 Jeff Francoeur followed predictably by ’06 Jeff Francoeur. I wouldn’t be shocked if Escobar is platooned with Lillibridge (if Brent isn’t the full time CF) too which would increase Yunel’s chances of hitting well.

  4. Brian Mills says:

    I’m curious about this trade from the Tigers’ perspective. They already have a very good shortstop in Guillen. With Rogers getting old and Zumya’s future looking bleak, it seems that they may need someone to come from their system to fill a pitching spot. Their downfall this past year was definitely not their hitting. Of course, Renteria is a great player, but they seem to be getting help from players they don’t really need. Verlander, Miller, Bonderman, and Robertson is a pretty nice rotation though. Anyone have any ideas on the plans for their current SS?