Toronto Baseball Guys
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
  Gonzo for Escobar a No-Brainer
Consider if you will the following two shortstops, both well-regarded defensively:

AVG OBP SLG OPS+
SS A . 247 .294 .395 78
SS B .301 .375 .426 112


Oh, and shortstop A will be 33 years old next season making $2.75 million, and shortstop B will be 27 and making $435 000. Who would you rather have?

Shortstop A is, of course, Alex Gonzalez through 2009. Shortstop B is Yunel Escobar through 2009. 2010 has been a different story: everything Gonzalez touches goes for extra bases, if not right out of the park, while Escobar has taken a step back at an age where he should putting up career highs.

This is the blueprint for a perfect trade for Alex Anthopoulus: sell your veteran high for the younger player whose stock is way down. Is it possible that Gonzalez will be a 30 home run shortstop for the next few seasons, and that Escobar may have stopped hitting? Anything is possible, but any GM of a rebuilding ball club should still make this trade every time. When the trade is one that was completely unfathomable six months ago, you take that risk.

It's not an awful trade for the Braves; they're trying to win now, and Escobar isn't going to make anyone forget Honus Wagner, but he should solidify the Jays at shortstop for the next few years, and he gives them an on-base threat - something the offense is sorely lacking. Escobar's presence also allows Adeiny Hechevarria more time to develop.

Sure, the Jays will have to hope that prospects Tim Collins and Tyler Pastornicky don't go all Fred McGriff in Atlanta, but that's a caveat whenever shuffling 20-year-olds around, and those considerations can't make a GM fearful of pulling the trigger on a deal.

Jo-Jo Reyes is the "live arm" throw-in. This year at AAA, he has cut his walks/9, more than doubled his strikeouts per 9, while more than doubling his ERA - a tough feat, to be sure. He has struck out almost a batter per inning over 500+ minor league innings, so he could develop into something useful.

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