Breaking Down the Vazquez Deal

First thought: I like the deal.

According to the AJC the Braves have acquired Javier Vazquez and Boone Logan from the White Sox for Brent Lillibridge, Tyler Flowers, Jon Gilmore, and Santos Rodriguez. The Braves get a good starter under a reasonable contract for the next two seasons in return for three prospects of decent quality.

Second thought: I still like the deal

Vazquez is scheduled to earn $11.5 million a season for the next two years. I have him valued at around $14 million year over this period, which means he’s generating $5 million in surplus. Logan is arbitration-eligible for the next three seasons isn’t arbitration-eligible until 2010. He’s a soon-to-be 24-year-old lefty reliever with major-league experience. His surplus value is harder to project, but it is similar to Vazquez’s (possibly higher).

The prospects the Braves forgo are just that: prospects. Lillibridge was horrible in 2008, and nothing special in 2007. Scouts like him, and hitting the majors at 24 is a good sign. Flowers is certainly a hot prospect. He had a good season in Myrtle Beach and in the Arizona Fall League. But, he’s a long way off. He may turn out to be a star or never play a game in the big leagues. He’s just not that close. The two lesser prospects are too far off for me to evaluate.

Final analysis: good deal.

The Braves fill big holes in the rotation and the bullpen without having to give up major-league talent. This is exactly the type of move that the win-now Braves need to be making. White Sox fans don’t need to fret as the team gets some good prospects. Seems like mutually beneficial exchange…imagine that.

18 Responses “Breaking Down the Vazquez Deal”

  1. jfish26101 says:

    On the surface, Vazquez does seem to be a nice addition but you could say the same about Tex when we acquired him in a package of prospects.  Flowers/Rodriguez/Gilmore may be far away but so was Feliz/Andrus.  The names we gave up are obviously less well known and I’m not trying to say the same caliber but they are 3 very nice prospects and Lillibridge could always put it all together and be the players scouts felt he could be.   Perhaps I will be OK with the deal if we are able to acquire one more pitcher and an impact bat or two but I just don’t think we are close enough to competing to give up prospects like this.  We likely wont know who won this deal till both Vazquez/Logan are long gone but this looks like yet another deal that may bite us on the rear a couple years down the road to me.

  2. JC says:

    I actually liked the Tex deal at the time. In hindsight, it doesn’t look so good; but, I’m not convinced it was an obviously bad deal for the Braves given the information we had at the time.

    This deal is a bit different in that the prospects the Braves gave up are not nearly as good.  Salty was two years younger than Flowers when he had his breakout year at Myrtle Beach. He’d already made it to the majors when he was dealt.  Matt Harrison was probably a better prospect then than Flowers is now, as well. He’s already made it to the majors.  Tex’s contract was also more favorable than Vazquez’s, so it’s not surprising that the Braves had to give up more.

  3. Marc Schneider says:

    The last I heard, Feliz and Andrus were not yet in the major leagues.  They might be great prospects but they aren’t major league players yet.  As JC says, the guys the Braves gave up this time aren’t as good as those.  Vazquez certainly isn’t ace material but he is not a bad addition, especially coming back to the NL.  I wouldn’t want him starting the first game of the playoffs but the Braves don’t need to worry about that right now.  The Braves have so far kept their top prospects as well as their shortstop.  Seems like a solid trade to me.

    And, Tex was a good pickup.  The problem is the rest of the team sucked.

  4. jfish26101 says:

    Value wise, I’m not saying the Tex deal was bad either but he didn’t do what they thought he would do and it set the franchise back in my opinion.  At some point I honestly feel the Braves are going to need to think about rebuilding for a year or two instead of trying to retool like they have been able to do in the past.  It’s just my opinion but we aren’t close enough to winning to make the deals we have been making lately (the Tex deal and this deal as the biggest examples).  Also I was never a big fan of Harrison so I wouldn’t say he is a better prospect than Flowers is now.  Feliz was the name I hated to see in the Tex deal the most with Salty right behind him.  I will agree that the 4 players we gave up for Vazquez/Logan aren’t as good as what we gave up for Teixeira/Mahay/Ring but in full context I believe it’s the same type of deal and in the end neither will have really helped us as much as simply waiting for our prospects to develop.  I’m not against giving up prospects for MLB players in the right situation but I’m not sure either trade was the correct move given the situations the MLB team was/is in is what I’m trying to say I guess.

  5. Stu says:

    JC, one point of clarification: According to Rotoworld, which is usually pretty reliable, Boone actually isn’t eligible for arbitration until 2010. So he’s even cheaper.

    http://www.rotoworld.com/content/playerpages/player_MLB_career.aspx?sport=MLB&id=4396

  6. JC says:

    Good catch, Stu. Thanks!

  7. Dave says:

    I like it. I don’t like trading Flowers in a deal not including Peavy, but I fully support trading the kid at his peak value, and this still doesn’t totally preclude us from going out and getting Peavy. This trade stands on its own, but acquiring another front line SP makes it work better. Vazquez is an innings eater, he’ll be a solid number 3 now that hes back in the NL, but we still lack an ace. Word is we’re offering Burnett the 5th year he covets so that may be the correlating move soon. I would personally prefer a younger, healthier Peavy but it is looking like Burnett may be the guy

  8. Timmy says:

    I have serious issues with this deal from the Braves end.  Including both Flowers and Gilmore is simply bothersome.  The Braves have gotten into making this sort of half-hearted attempts to compete over the last couple years, and each year their major league talent pool dwindles.  The Braves are a 90-loss team, it’s time they started acting like it.  Is adding Javier Vazquez going to make us a better club than the Mets or Phillies over the next couple years?  I doubt it.

    The Braves are rolling the dice and saying none of these kids are going to turn into productive major leaguers, because only one of them has to hit for this deal to look like a steal for the ChiSox.

    Trading Flowers was sort of inevitable, but it just seems like the Braves could have done a lot better.  Catchers that can lead any league in OPS aren’t exactly a dime a dozen (that’s before we even mention that the league he led was the prospect-laden AFL, where 3/4 of the players go on to be big leaguers).  I am bothered that the Braves seemed unwilling to try him in LF, or to give him a chance to play multiple positions.  For a team that is desperately searching for a RH bat, trading the most productive RH stick in the organization away doesn’t seem like a very sound move. 

    If the Braves were going to trade Flowers, they needed to make it clear he was on the market, find a club with an excess of young starting pitching or outfielders but needed a catcher, and make a mutually beneficially one-for-one swap.

    Here’s the numbers Flowers but together this year between Myrtle Beach, the Carolina League postseason, and the AFL… I’d take that production from any position.

    Tyler Flowers
    649 PA, 159 H, 103 R, 39 2B, 3 3B, 31 HR, 116 RBI, 135 SO, 113 BB,
    .303/.430/.567- .997 OPS

  9. Keith says:

    Just a question for JC (or any other Braves fan who cares to answer):

    What would you peg the chances are of Flowers sticking at catcher, even if it means him being a below-average defender there?  There seems to be a growing consensus that Flowers will have to move off of catcher (which I don’t necessarily think is false), but I combat that with having a tough time believing Kenny Williams would make Flowers the centerpiece of the deal if he didn’t have a strong belief that he’d be able to stick behind the plate for at least a couple of big-league seasons. 

    Thoughts?

  10. JC says:

    I don’t know the answer to that.

  11. Rich says:

    I have to agree that I like this deal.  The Braves have really been hamstrung the past few seasons with dead arms in the starting rotation.  Bringing Glavine back was nothing more than a publicity stunt, and a poor one at that.  They need a couple of veteran pitchers with there arm still attached.  This deal looks even better if they can sign Burnett.

    I honestly don’t get the love affair with Flowers.  He put together one good season in the minors.  He can hit, there’s no doubt about that, but he is still at least a few years away and scouts act as if he has the IQ of homer simpson as far as calling a game is concerned.  When he proves to be a better catcher than McCann or Mauer, then you can throw it in my face.  He has DH written all over him, which doesn’t do the Braves any good.  Prospects are a dime a dozen and most never even see the majors.

    I’m still shocked that the Padres didn’t accept the Bravos offer for Peavey. I hope the Padres have to basically give him to the Yankees for nothing and watch every team in baseball go crazy about it.

  12. mravery says:

    Gilmore? Really, Timmy? Gilmore? Kid played well in rookie ball. Do you know how many players play well in Rookie ball? This guy is just projection at this point. He’s nowhere near the prospect that Tyler Flowers is, and even he’s probably not a top 50 guy.

  13. Timmy says:

    Just to clarify, I realize Gilmore is not a top prospect, or anything close to equal to Flowers.  But is giving first round draft choices away before you even know what you have a wise decision?  We basically paid Gilmore’s signing bonus for the Sox, then gave him to them.

    Mostly, I just know the Braves could have gotten a better return for Flowers than they got.  I  mean what are we trying to do, put an average team out there year after year, or build a championship-caliber club?  The Braves seem content with doing the former, and that pisses me off just a bit.

    Flowers’ bat is a lot closer than one might expect, and for a club desperately searching for any RH that can produce, I really wish we had either tried him in LF or traded him to another club for a young hitter that was blocked in their system.  We would have been better off giving him up to the Padres and getting Peavy, I think, even though I was opposed to that idea as well.


    Also, to Rick on Flowers’ IQ calling games… a couple things I’d like to point out.
    Who is Tommy Hanson’s backstop of choice? Tyler Flowers.

    Also, consider how well the Braves pitchers performed in the AFL all of whom were pitching exclusively to Tyler Flowers. Hanson led the league in ERA, WHIP, K’s… Medlen finished second in WHIP and Marek never gave up a run. For a league where a 5.75 ERA is the average, I’d say he was doing alright calling the game for those guys.

  14. Trey says:

    Just a Braves fan chiming in here. Vasquez seems like a “solid” mlb pitcher. I haven’t seen him pitch in a while (since Expos days), but from what I gather from Sox fans..he isn’t as bad as Ozzie says, but not nearly as good as he should be (that sound about right, Sox fans?). What I can tell you about is the “prospects” you guys got. I only say “prospects” in a general sence, because I dont beleive Lill’bridge is a prospect anymore. He’s currently a fringe MLB player, but what concerns me about him (and should concern Sox fans) is that he always seems to look like a AAAA player. He’s definately too good to be in AAA but just seems overwhelmed in the show. He has a hard time getting around on major league caliber fastballs, which usually means “adios” after 2-3 seasons. He has A- speed, with potential to steal 20-30 bases consistently (he’s not just fast, he has baserunning skills to go along), but he would need to keep his average at .280 to .310 to be effective. He doesnt walk as much as you would like either. Hope Im wrong on him…he’s a good clubhouse guy from what Dave O’Brien says. Then there’s the two throw in guys….Rodriguez and Gillmore. I have to say, I was surprised the Sox wanted these two. Rodriguez has a good arm, but is a long ways away from anything we could actually project major league wise. He’s like signing a guy from Cuba or DR, could be great, could never pan out….definately a risk….and as is, cant be worth too much. Gillmore I know a little bit more about. He’s Chipper’s supposed replacement in 3 years. He’s got power…but strikes out a lot (sound familar…Marte anyone?) Our organization has been pushing “Chipper replacement” players and none have turned out so far. He might. Maybe you guys stole him, but the Braves have been pretty good at letting the right prospects go over the years. That would seem to have more to do with our scout’s rather than GM, but who knows. Seems sketchy to me that Wren gave him up along with Flowers. Probably means someone at some level see’s something wrong in him. That brings me to the hard-to-pin-down Flowers. This is the guy who should matter to you guys. He’s raw, yes, but posesses the kinda swing that makes grown men cry. He put up monster (and I mean monster) shots in spring training last year. That caught the eye of ol’Bobby, which is hard to do for typical young Braves players. I see him hitting 35-40 HR’s a year when he gets his feet under him in the pro game. He really is a true top ten prospect. Problem for the Braves is, he’s never going to be a major league catcher. When other teams found that out, his trade value was going to plummet. For you guys, he’s probably your DH of the future. That, unfortunatley, wasn’t an option with the Braves, and from what I’ve read about him (that $ i pay thebravesshow.com is worth something, sometimes..lol), he isnt going to be able to play 1B or 3B either. When you guys see him, you’ll see why OF isn’t an option either. He’s real, real, big. He’s very slow. Think a bigger and slower Adam Dunn. Boy can he hit though.
    Overall I think the Braves got exactly what they think they are getting, at market price. Sure, I would love to have Flowers back. He’s the only one though, and you can’t get veteran major league pitching without giving up something of value. I think your GM went for high ceiling, high risk prospects except for Lill’bridge. He’s probably just a pintch-runner, who can play 2b,ss,3b,cf, which is valuable when rounding out a roster. The player who kinda throws me through a loop is the LOOGY we got with Vasquesz. Guess he’s a cheap lefty not arb eligable until 2010, which makes him valuable to the Braves considering our “lefty reliever issues” over tha past few seasons.

  15. Marc Schneider says:

    Flowers seems more valuable to an AL team because of the DH.  It seems to me that Wren is making a concerted effort to keep the prospects that the team expects to build around and to use the others to acquire talent.  That seems reasonable to me.  Maybe he will be wrong about some of the players he traded but given the odds of even a high-caliber prospect making it, I can’t get too upset about trading a Class A player.  I mean, even if they were going to rebuild, there is no reason for them to do a Marlins and lose 100 games, which people seem to think is the only way to rebuild.  The fact is, if you look at the team now, it’s pretty young.  The rotation includes Jurrjens, probably Hanson by the middle of the year, young middle infield (unless they trade one of them), young at catcher.  

  16. jfish26101 says:

    It isn’t the only way to rebuild but when you keep trading half a dozen prospects out of your top 20/30 every year in a feeble attempt to stay above .500 and compete in a very difficult division, you might be better off to take that route.  I mean the Marlins have won two WS in the past 10-11 years.  I’m not saying I want to take the Marlins approach and win one WS every five years and lose 90+ games the other four but there is no shame in having to pack it in once in a great while.  I just don’t agree that a #4 in the AL comes to the NL and is instantly a #2 like everyone is saying.  Vazqez has always been a guy with the stuff to be an ace/front line type starter but over the past 5-6 years has lost his way.  He had one great season in 2007 out of the past five, I just don’t see him as a difference maker when I didn’t think Peavy (a true ace) was enough to compete with the Phillies/Mets next season.

  17. Marc Lazzeri says:

    Timmy,

    This trade is essentially Flowers for Vazquez. If Lillibridge, Gilmore, or Rodriguez ever come back to bite the Braves in the ass, I would be seriously surprised. This is a good, solid trade and nothing that a Braves fan should find “bothersome.

  18. Timmy says:

    Marc,

    The bothersome part of the deal, is that I believe the Braves could’ve gotten more value for Flowers than they did.  Vazquez only has two years left on his deal, and I don’t actually see the Braves being serious competitors in ’09 or ’10.  Regardless of the quality of pitching the Braves bring in they can’t compete in the NL East with the horrific corner OF they have.  Even adding a big-time bat, this team was just average with Teixiera on it.

    I guess I just want this team to rebuild.  We’ve been re-tooling for four or five years now, and every year the team that is fielded looks a little bit worse.  It’s not really a complaint against Vazquez, I just know that the Braves could’ve done better.