Braves, Boston, Padres Wheeling and Dealing

At least three trades were made in the last 24 hours …

Atlanta acquires slugging, switch-hitting catcher Ryan Doumit from the Twins in return for LHP Sean Gilmartin. Doumit joins Evan Gattis and Gerald Laird in what is shaping up to be an interesting 3-man catching rotation.

The Boston Red Sox swapped LHP Franklin Morales and RHP Chris Martin to the Rockies for infielder Jonathan Herrera. Were the Mets kicking the tires on Herrera, who can capably handle shortstop, second base, and third base? I hadn’t heard anything to that effect, but you never know. The Bosox picked up Herrera as insurance in the event Stephen Drew signs elsewhere — such as with the Mets.

In another deal involving a shortstop, the Astros sent minor leaguer Ryan Jackson to San Diego for Jesus Guzman. Guzman is a 1B/OF who hit over .300 in AAA for the past three seasons. Jackson is a 25-year-old utilityman whose main position is shortstop and who has hit .270 with a .339 OBP in 5 minor league seasons. Jackson was property of the St. Louis Cardinals until the Astros claimed him on waivers in late November. Were the Mets interested in Jackson? Again, who knows? But if they were, it wasn’t strong enough to move them to claim him back in November.

Any comment on these moves?

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. DaveSchneck December 19, 2013 at 10:05 am
    Joe,
    Atlanta losing McCann and Hudson should not be underestimated, although when I see the Braves and the Nats make trades, they always look to me to be winners for them, at least initially.

    Not sure what the Red Sox SS situation is. To me it seems they have a high potential kid ready to plug in and can get a pick for Drew, so why would they sign him? I would welcome him to the Mets but no way more than 2 years, he is a nice player but nothing special. I’s still prefer a young guy with some potential, but Alderson can’t seem to convince anyone to take his leftovers for that type of player.

    Not sure what Alderson is up to these days, since there is still a lot of work to be done. I have no problem with him waiting out the 1B markeet, I just hope he is not on hold with all other moves until this plays out.

  2. Sidd Finch December 19, 2013 at 1:58 pm
    The Braves now have two catchers with iron gloves and one with a swiss cheese bat. They’ve regressed this offseason thus far. They’d better hope their 2B and three OF rebounds because if not it could be a long season for the Tomahawk Chop crew. To be honest aside from the Nats the NL East is looking mediocre at the moment.
    • izzy December 19, 2013 at 4:14 pm
      Plus, Hererra is coming to Boston to be a back up utility guy, something the Mets don’t deem necessary.
      • izzy December 19, 2013 at 4:15 pm
        The Hererra comment was supposed to be below the other Boston comment. Sorry for screwing up again.
    • Joe Janish December 19, 2013 at 6:40 pm
      I don’t think Gattis is all that awful behind the plate. He’s raw and a little awkward, but he has a strong arm, a take-charge personality, and enough athleticism to work himself into being better than adequate.
  3. DanB December 19, 2013 at 2:31 pm
    Does this mean the Braves don’t see Gattis as a catcher?
    • izzy December 19, 2013 at 4:25 pm
      No it means Doumit is, like always a back up , just in Atlanta and he is a back up outfielder and PH. He is crap anywhere he wears a glove but can hit off the bench. Funny reading Metsies give dire warning to the Bravos. Afterall, the y sure didn’t miss hudson the last 2 months, and they sure didn’t miss the horrible offense from 2B and the outfield last year. Gee, what if they come back, like Alderson is claiming his newest Young will most assuredly do? Just think four guys coming back on offense. The Metsies have only Young and Tejada and maybe Davis. Don’t think they worry about anybody in the East north of DC.
  4. Andrew Lloyd December 19, 2013 at 3:25 pm
    If you’re the Red Sox, why are you signing Drew? I’m not sure I get it – they have Xander Boegarts who they and everybody else in the world loves at SS. Sure, he’s 21 years old and unproven – but are you going to sign Stephen Drew there and block him?? For 2+ years??

    They have Middlebroooks at 3B and Boegarts’ value is higher at SS. The smart thing for the Sox to do is acquire a backup/placeholder in case Boegarts struggles.

    I raise this because it seems to me that Drew has no market. Everyone is holding fast at SS, and the Red Sox have a top prospect who proved himself on the playoff stage; it just makes no sense to block him with an expensive, good-but-not-great player.

    So then, who else besides the Mets desperately needs a SS?

    If I’m the Red Sox, I offer Drew a fat 1-year deal, take it or leave it. If I’m Drew, I end up taking a 2-year, $24M deal – from whom? The NY Mets.

    Just a thought.

    • Joe Janish December 19, 2013 at 6:48 pm
      Drew is a proven commodity — he can field as well as most, and he can hit enough, and he’s a trustworthy veteran with experience, which managers like to have. If he’s on the roster, I don’t see it as blocking Bogaerts so much as giving Bogaerts time / no pressure to develop — the kid just turned 21 in October, and didn’t exactly light MLB on fire in his cup of coffee. With Drew at SS, the Bosox have the luxury of making Bogaerts play his way onto the big-league roster — the exact opposite of what the Mets did in handing the job on a silver platter to Ruben Tejada. And if Bogaerts does force his way into the MLB job, Boston has a valuable trading chip (in Drew).

      I’m betting they hold to a two-year offer to Drew, which is fair for both sides.

      • Andrew Lloyd December 20, 2013 at 12:16 am
        I think boegarts did light the world on fire in the playoffs. Did you watch? He got a lot of praise.
        • Joe Janish December 20, 2013 at 1:24 pm
          I try to avoid pro games that employ the designated pinch hitter, so most of what I know of Bogaerts is what I saw of him in the World Series and the regular-season stats.
      • argonbunnies December 20, 2013 at 2:40 am
        Depends on how they value Middlebrooks.

        They may be holding off on Drew to inflate Will’s value or something, planning to trade him because they don’t actually want him.

        Or, it could be the opposite — they’re committed to Middlebrooks and Bogaerts are just keeping their options open with Drew in case something weird happens.

  5. Andrew Lloyd December 19, 2013 at 3:28 pm
    Sorry, I missed it – duh – so Herrera is Boston’s backup plan if Boegarts struggles.

    I see this as a clear sign they are moving on from Stephen Drew, leaving him to the Mets and whoever else sees him as a need or upgrade. Maybe he even takes 1-yr deal to punt til next year.

  6. izzy December 19, 2013 at 4:00 pm
    I think you all mis read the Sox. They are going to play Bogarts at third if the sign Drew. They seem to have lost faith in Middlebrook. Don’t say he is a SS. Look at SS prospect in Baltimore Machado playing third… no problem. A
  7. Andrew Lloyd December 20, 2013 at 12:14 am
    Wow didn’t realize middlebrooks struggled so badly last year. Yeah kinda depends on how they evaluate him re whether they see Drew as a priority.
  8. argonbunnies December 20, 2013 at 2:42 am
    Agreed, Middlebrooks is the key. The Sox may only be pretending he’s an everyday candidate to pump his value prior to trading him and then signing Drew.
  9. argonbunnies December 20, 2013 at 2:50 am
    The Braves had horribly subpar years from B.J. Upton (I predicted he’d be bad, but not that bad) and Dan Uggla. Just Upton and Jason Heyward weren’t as good with the bat as they’re capable of being either. Some bounce back from those guys should more than offset their losses. (The one hitter who the numbers suggest got lucky was Freeman, but I dunno, he sure passes the eye test…)

    Improvement of young guys might also offset the expected regression of the 2013 Braves’ ridiculously clutch (in the regular season — nyah nyah) bullpen. Can Minor, Teheran, Simmons et al. get better? If so, this is still a very, very elite team.

    • Joe Janish December 20, 2013 at 1:33 pm
      Good points. Sometimes fans fall into a thought process whereby many of his/her favorite team’s players improve going forward, while all opponents remain status quo. The truth is, there’s usually a mix of performance levels raising and lowering all over.

      Simmons, Freeman, and Heyward would seem to be just scratching the surface, which is a scary thought. Then again, any of the three could go the way of Jeff Francoeur or Ruben Tejada. Personally, I think all three are the real deal, with Simmons the one with the potential to make the largest step forward (that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be the best of the three, only that of the three, he seems to be the one furthest from his ceiling).

      What happens if B.J. Upton and/or Uggla get anywhere close to what is expected of them? I’m betting on Upton having a bounce-back year — I think the change of leagues and pressure of the contract had a lot to do with his struggles. I also think Atlanta’s pitching will at worst be the same as it was, and betting it will be slightly improved overall. On the other hand, Chris Johnson would have to regress, and Uggla looks as lost as Ike Davis.

      • Andrew Lloyd December 20, 2013 at 1:57 pm
        Uggla is a terrible player, flat out. I’m worried about Heyward-Freeman; these guys are good players.

        Am I alone in kind of hoping the Braves stay good? And that there’s a renewal of that rivalry with the Mets (well, making the rather optimistic assumption the Mets will be a good team in the next year or two)?

        The late ’90′s/early 2000′s were kind of a special time to be a Mets fan, and in a way the Braves were part of the reason. I was at the game the first time Rocker came in after his infamous SI interview – I haven’t heard 55,000 New Yorkers let loose like that since. With him and Chipper gone – we need a new Darth Vader.

        • argonbunnies December 21, 2013 at 3:57 am
          The next time the Mets are good, I hope the Braves are just good enough for us to crush their playoff hopes. Other than that, #@$& them. I always root against Atlanta, second only to the Yankees.
      • NormE December 20, 2013 at 3:37 pm
        The more I saw of Simmons during the season the more impressed I was. I agree with you Joe, about his ceiling. He has the potential to be a dominant SS. Freeman at bat just scares me. As for Heyward, he has struggled, but the talent is there. He did a really nice job moving over to CF when the Braves were short. Three home grown talents along side the young (also home grown) pitching. Just a very well-run organization.
  10. DanB December 20, 2013 at 7:19 pm
    what is amazing about the Brave’s player development is they do it without trading away their best players for prospects and the routinely draft later in the draft because they are always over .500.