Braves Deal Estrada For Cormier And Villarreal

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports continues to scoop the vast majority of trades going on at the Winter Meetings.  This time, he's telling us that the Braves sent Johnny Estrada to the Diamondbacks for Lance Cormier and Oscar Villarreal.

The Braves were dealing from a position of strength since Brian McCann is more than ready to take over full-time catching duty.  The 21 year-old skipped Triple A and held up nicely in 180 Major League at-bats this year.  He's not the defensive catcher that Estrada is, but he's not bad with the glove.  Estrada won a Silver Slugger award for catchers and was named to the All-Star team after his 2004, but is unlikely to approach that level offensively again.

Lance Cormier is a 25 year-old right-handed reliever.  He's been lousy through 124 Major League innings – 6.21 ERA, lots of homers, weak strikeout rate, and tons of baserunners allowed.  He showed potential with a nice run at Triple A Tucson in 2004.

Born in Mexico, Oscar Villarreal is a 24 year-old righty reliever.  Despite high walk totals, Villarreal had a spectacular 2003 in relief for the Diamondbacks, pitching 98 innings of 2.57 ERA ball.  He'll be representing Mexico in the World Baseball Classic in March if the Braves allow it.  Villarreal has suffered some major injuries in his career, undergoing nerve transposition surgery in his arm as well as suffering through rotator cuff problems and a strained hip flexor.

It'd be a stretch to say that this deal improves the Braves' bullpen, especially without Leo Mazzone there to work his magic on the two relievers. 


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