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Braves Deal Estrada For Cormier And Villarreal

Ken Rosenthal 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. 

Thanks to the many readers who passed along this trade.


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This is more or less a dump of Estrada. In return, Atlanta got 2 relievers that may/may not make the Opening Day roster.

The Pirates also just traded Mike Redman to the Royals. Why couldn't the Cubs take advantage of the Pirate's Left handed pitcher fire sale? I know the Cubs could use a left hander in their rotation. Although that would crowd things a bit, but then one could be trade bait. i.e. williams or wood

Agreed, Braveswin. Be sure to check out Braveswin's blog at:


Army Guy, lefties are nice, but Redman probably wouldn't hold up well at Wrigley. He hasn't been good since '03, when he played in a pitchers' park and posted a freakish K rate.


I meant to just take advantage of the situation with the Pirates, not neccessarily Redman.

My first reaction was that the Braves didn't quite get enough for Estrada. I realize they were trying to dump him, but I thought there would be a bigger market for at catcher that at least has to be considered a bit over league average.

Upon further review, I gotta say I agree with Braveswin. The Braves got two young bullpen arms for a guy they didn't need. It never hurts to add young pitching no matter the situation plus I still think Villarreal might turn out halfway decent. I'm excited to see what McCann can do in the time he'll see before Saltamacchia gets the call. Is Pena the backup going into the year now?

I think Pena is going to back up, but he couldn't throw out Sid Bream

Pena has the worst arm I have ever seen in a catcher, and Im not exagerating. I have never seen a catcher with that bad of an arm. He did hit .400 for AAA before being called up though, so he has some potential to hit. I dont know alot about Saltamachia, but from what I hear, he may be the catcher of the future for the Braves. That is hard to believe thinking that McCann is good for .270 with 20-25 hr. That is great production out of a catcher.

hmmm...couldn't they have gotten more for Estrada than two mediocre relief pitchers? one sucks...one was good 2 years ago.

hmmm...couldn't they have gotten more for Estrada than two mediocre relief pitchers? one sucks...one was good 2 years ago.

Perhaps the best fit for a Tejada trade would be the LA Angels. They are ready to unload Cabrera and they have some great young talent such as Kotchman, Wood and Santana. I could see a Kotchman, Cabrera and Wood trade to the Orioles for Tejada happening if the Orioles decide to move Miggy.

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