Javier Vazquez to Braves
Pending a physical, the Braves have acquired Javier Vazquez and Boone Logan from the White Sox in exchange for Brent Lillibridge, Tyler Flowers, Jon Gilmore, and Santos Rodriguez.
As isuzudude already commented, this deal likely takes Atlanta out of the running for Jake Peavy — though, the pieces the Padres want are still property of the Braves. If the Braves are willing to give up more from their abundance of near-ready prospects, plus Yunel Escobar, then a Peavy deal is still possible. But with Lillibridge gone, the only way I see the Braves dealing Escobar is if they either get Khalil Greene back or if they sign someone like Edgar Renteria or Orlando Cabrera.
Regardless, the Braves are in the market for at least another starting pitcher, and they have supposedly made an offer to A.J. Burnett. Both the Vazquez deal and the offer to Burnett give them leverage in the Peavy talks. Will be interesting to watch.
Is this a good deal for the Braves? It does look that way, particularly since Lillibridge’s stock plummeted after a disappointing 2008 season in AAA, and the other three prospects are relative no-names. However, the White Sox were desperate to dump Vazquez, and what they received in return was a talented, speedy middle infielder who will play in MLB next year and a young power-hitting catcher with enormous upside. After a monster performance in the Arizona Fall League, Flowers might see some action for the ChiSox before the end of ’09, and — if he continues his current course — could be a future All-Star caliber catcher.
Vazquez will do well in Atlanta, partially because he’s getting away from a manager who didn’t want him and partially because he’s going to a city that is ideal for his personality — low-key, low expectations, not much media coverage. He won’t be an ace but he’ll be a solid #2 or #3.
Don’t discount the acquisition of Boone Logan, a young LOOGY who has been getting pounded by AL hitters for the last three years. Logan is only 24 years old, has a live fastball, and is very tough on lefties. He has age on his side, and he’s improving. The control problem that plagued his first two years is becoming less of an issue, as his K:BB ratio improved dramatically from 2007 to 2008 (in ’08 he struck out 42 and walked 14 in 42 IP; in ’07 he went 35 K / 20 BB / 52 IP). I’m not saying Logan is the next Mike Gonzalez, but he should earn a spot in the Braves bullpen and be a significant contributor.
Interesting point: the Braves and White Sox are two teams that rarely make bad trades. Further, neither of them are done dealing this winter.