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Let's Talk Astros Fire Sale

A reader pointed out to me that the Astros are out of contention, and can't possibly think they're just a player or two away.  I hadn't noticed how far back Houston has already fallen.  Every simulation I can find gives the Astros less than a 1% chance of making the playoffs.

The big three - Carlos Lee, Lance Berkman, and Roy Oswalt - those guys are obviously staying put.  That's about $40 mil on the books for '08 right there.

Next we get to Woody Williams, who is unfortunately signed through 2008.  Williams and his 4.67 K/9 won't help any American League team.  With a 5.58 ERA, durability questions, and a home run problem, Williams has very little trade value.  And he's making $6.25MM in '08, at which point he will be 41.  Yikes.

Then there's Jason Jennings, earning $5.5MM this year.  The Rockies clearly got the better end of that trade, but it was a "win now" move by Tim Purpura.  Jennings needs to prove his health over the next couple of weeks, and then he'll become the Astros' best trading chip.  He's dealt with shoulder and elbow tendinitis this year, but Jennings is a bulldog.  Could Purpura pry away an Andy LaRoche for him?  Maybe not, as Ned Colletti wouldn't want to get burned by an injury again so quickly.  Not sure what the Phillies would spare, and the Astros don't really have a spot for Mariner right field prospect Wladimir Balentien.  But this is a situation to monitor.

Perhaps Jennings could be packaged with Brad Lidge and sent to the Phillies for one truly good prospect.  Lidge is recovering from an oblique issue, but was on a nice run prior to that.  Despite his struggles over the last couple of years, Lidge's skills will put him in high demand.  He's got the name value that Dan Wheeler and Chad Qualls don't, and he should be the one to go.  I could rattle off ten teams that could use a guy like Lidge.

Morgan Ensberg is expendable; his bat has been anemic this year.  Maybe a fresh start and regular playing time would help him return to his 25 HR days.  He's controlled through 2008.  The Twins, Phillies, and Giants seem like options, and Ensberg shouldn't cost much.

Brad Ausmus will be a free agent after this year; his .335 OBP isn't terrible for a catcher.  I'd suggest the Cubs but I think they really want to try Rob Bowen.

Mike Lamb is a free agent after the season, and he's quietly hit pretty well for the past couple of years.  Again, the Twins or Phillies could snag him.  It'd be a very Twins-esque move.  The Yankees could jump in and get him for first base; he'd be better than Shea Hillenbrand.

Mark Loretta is hitting .322 and would be a nice versatile guy to bring along to the playoffs.  Maybe the Braves would have a look if Yunel Escobar tails off in July and Kelly Johnson doesn't recover.

Dan Wheeler could turn out to be a nice buy low; he's had a a run of success prior to this year and his peripherals still aren't bad.  Plus he's controlled through '08.  Trever Miller's been awful as the lefty specialist, but maybe a new team could fix his control problem and get something out of him.   

Jason Lane is another good low-risk type acquisition.  He's trying to recover his stroke in Triple A currently. The White Sox should go after him.

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Tim Purpura "What? Fire sale? But we can win it all this year!"

He hasnt actually said this (yet) but Im sure he would say something close to this if asked. In his mind, he still has key components from the 2005 "I cant believe we just made the playoffs" run. For him guys like Lane and Ensberg are a tomorrow away from being MVP players.

That said, heres one stros fan hoping for a fire sale.

The yankees could use a number of guys. Wheeler, Lidge, Lamb, Ausmus, Loretta, Miller.

is there any chance of adding tim purpura to that list? i don't even trust him to get good value back in a fire sale at this point

We definitely need to have a fire sale. However, our owner is senile and in denial and still thinks we have a chance and our GM wouldn't know a good trade if it came up and bit him in his ass.

Guys like Lidge, Wheeler, Ensberg, Lane, Lamb and Loretta should all be traded away for whatever we can get for them. I would love to get a good 3B and C prospect, but its doubtful. But, in the end, we will not have a fire sale because of Drayton McLane. I guarantee you we could be 20 games out at the trade deadline and he'd still think we're in it.

I have said for a while now that the Braves and Astros match up well. A deal surrounding Yunel Escobar and Jason Jennings just seems too perfect for me. The Astros get a good young shortstop with a great glove and the Braves get the pitching they want behind Smoltz and Hudson.

I disagree was385. I think that we could find a younger option than jennings who we could have for a few years. Furthermore, right now, escobar is our best option at second base with KJ in his slump, which just increases his value to the braves, meaning it would take more to get him. I will say that Jennings, yes, is the type of talent who the braves could use in their rotation, but the fact that he is a free agent at the end of the year and has had recent injury trouble greatly lessens his value. I would like more to go after noah lowry in sanfran or another pitcher who has a few years of big league experience and who the braves could have for 2 or three more years. Now, even though they were not mention, wandy rodriguez would be a good bounty for yunel, but the astros are not going to attempt that for the simple that they need all the young pitching they could get, exactly like us. I just do not really see a match, unless we use a middle infielder from the minors. I even think brent lillibridge would not be worth giving up for jennings.

Now Brian, before you come make some idiotic response trying to overexxagerate what I said, or saying that I overvalue the braves prospects. or make another reference to your very scary infatuation with me and Babe Ruth's corpse, please just refrain and keep it to strictly realistic baseball ideas.

The Giants will not trade Noah Lowry. Why would you break up the young pitching core of Cain, Lowry, Lincecum?

Simple, You went out and invested 7years and 136 million and Zito, from which i still do not know why they did just not wait to use that on offense since they had cain, lincecum, and lowry (Yes, I know they went after lee, but could have waited till this offseason.) Anywho, they invested in zito, and have cain and lincecum, plus morris who is pitching well, so why not use lowry, who is your most attractive trading piece, to get what you need, young offensive producers. The giants cannot have any consistient offense at all, and with vizquel and durham up the middle, they could definitely use some middle infield help (Escobar is an upgrade over fransden). I agree you can never have enough pitching, but when you have three pitchers with the talent of cain, lincecum, and zito who are going to be there together for at least the next four years, and you also have an offense as anemic as theirs is, it makes a lot of sense to trade away lowry to try to get a young offensive pitch for the future.

And I mean lowry was just an idea, you may be right, the Giants probably will hold on to him, it just makes sense if they would want to move him, Rosenthal mentioned it as a possibility before and that the braves would want to get in on him, and the as bad as the Giants offense is, the need is their for them to use the depth in their staff to go get some offense, and I am sure lowry would bring a better return than morris, I am just saying they could move lowry and still maintain a strong staff while also gaining an upgrade on offense in terms of the future

when i said pitch, i meant piece, and lowry was just an example of the type of pitcher the braves would want if they traded away escobar

dealing from a strength that will remain a strength, even after removing a piece, to address a weakness is just a common sense move that winners have done in sports for years

but finding a good lefty pitcher who is young and cheap is a lot more rare than a shortstop who has a chance to be good but not great

Sabean already declared a while ago that he wouldn't be trading any young pitching. I can't give you an exact quote but he definitely said that. I assume that includes Lowry. Their not in contention now and they don't figure to be, so I doubt they'll move any pitcher except Morris.

The Braves should sign Brad Ausmus to a one year deal. He is a great defensive catcher.

I agree with "bravesbeat" on this one. If we're tradng Escobar, or Lillibridge for that matter, we need a better return than 3 months of Jennings. He would only be a slight upgrade over James & Davies. What we need is a big upgrade over thsose two. Lowry, although he is struggling a bit this year, would be a good fit.

However, my first choice would be Javier Vazquez, if he were made available. JS has always liked him.

Thundersticks I agree. Why Jennings? I like Vazquez, but how about Buehrle? We trade for him, then sign him to a contract extension.

Well, the Astros are still selling tickets, so I don't see a fire sale happening just yet. Maybe a couple of moves around the deadline (right around when Purpura's fired). I think the big fire sale's going to take place in the off-season.

I'm another Astros fan praying for a fire sale!

We just don't have much exciting talent in the upper minors and desperately need to re-stock the system.

If the Astros can somehow get Salty from the Braves, they should do it. I don't know the package of players it would take and I doubt the Astros could pull it off, but they really need to shoot for a couple blue chip prospects. I think they could probably get at least 2 blue chip prospects with their various pieces if they package them correctly.

I would definitely put Wandy on the table if someone like the Braves is interested. He's cheap and his peripherals are very good this year, more enticing then his ERA. Maybe package him with Wheeler and see if you can get a blue chip guy (Carrasco from Phillies? Salty from Braves?). Other possible packages to go after a blue chipper: Jennings/Wheeler, Jennings/Lidge, Wandy/Lidge.

There are enough teams looking for pitching that the Astros should be able to get 2 top talents if they play aggressive and play teams against each other (i.e. try to get the Braves & Phillies competing over the same package of pitchers).

As for needs, the Astros could really use a SS, C, 3B and pitching. Mabye instead of shooting for Salty, they could try to get Lillibridge and give up a little less? I don't know that they match-up that well with the Dodgers, but I'd love to see them shoot for LaRoche and/or Meloan.

I think they really need to package guys to achieve this. Jennings value is lower because he's only under control through this year. Packaging him with Wheeler or Lidge (I believe both under control through 2008) should allow them to get a great prospect from someone. If Lidge can come back healthy and dominant for a few weeks, he might be able to fetch a top prospect by himself. Depends entirely on the acquiring team though.

Well, Was385 and J.L, again, Lowry was just an idea, and an example of the type of pitcher we could use. And Was385, with how bat the Giants' offense is, if you can make a move for a young offenseive talent, you make it, especially when the starting staff will still be strong. That just makes great sense, because you want to contend, and the pitching and no offense scheme is not working, so why not move a pitcher without significantly weakening your staff to get a young offensive talent who could provide a boost to the lineup. That move just makes sense.

and my mr. big, wandy rodriguez would be a good addition, but I highly doubt the braves move salty for him and wheeler, just does not make too much sense because salty to get a more talented pitcher, escobar or lillibridge could be a good place to start for wandy

To Jatorres,
I think the main reason that the Astros are still selling tickets is because of Biggio chasing his 3000th hit. Its the only reason that these home games against the Rockies sold out, now that hes got it, Im pretty sure a big drop in attendance can be expected

I completely agree Laputian, Maybe that is why the papers in the Houston area where saying Biggio stood at 2,897 before the game.

Ian Kennedy for
Wheeler or Lidge, Lamb, Ausmus, Loretta, Miller, and Jennings?

Ok, probably not Jennings, but other than that, might be fair.

Makes sense for the Astros to get a big name prospect by selling quantity, because they don't have the quality players to trade to get them one.

If the Astros trade guys off, I think they are going to be looking for a 3B prospect first. That puts the Dodgers in play, especially since Schmidt is done for the year and they are making a playoff push. Jennings and Wandy could both be persons of interest for them, but I have no clue what it would take to pry away LaRoche from them. Ensberg is a lost cause. He had one good, flash in the pan year. We have NO halfway decent 3B prospects in our system, we do have a few catchers and a plethora of pitchers. 3B needs to be a place of interest, possibly even shortstop, although I dont have a problem with Adam Everett.

As I've said before, guys who arent going to be under contract by us next year, like Jennings, Lidge, Loretta and Lamb, should be traded immediately and get whatever you can for them. Even if its just a AA prospect each, its still something.

Guys who are under contract for next year but may have some interest, such as Ensberg, Wandy, Lidge, Wheeler, Qualls and Scott, need to be thrown out there to gauge the interest in them.

bravesbeat is exactly right. The Braves are not trading Salty to us for Wandy and Wheeler. Wheeler is good, just having a terrible year, but Wandy is garbage.

Brian - Wandy's peripherals suggest he's no longer garbage! He has maintained a higher K rate and lower BB rate over 85 innings, which seems like a legit sample size at this point. At least that's how we sell him to another team;-) And I'm not an Everett fan, defense be damned!

Bobo - Lidge, Wheeler, Jennings, and Wandy aren't that low in value. The problem with Jennings is that he's a FA after this year and he was on the DL earlier. If he stays healthy for a few more starts, that won't be as much of a concern. Still, clubs aren't willing to give up good young talent for a pending FA like they used to!

Wheeler has been a very good reliever the past couple years and, outside of a recent stretch this year, has been very good this year. He's capable of closing or being a very good set-up man and is under control for next year. He actually has quite a bit of value if teams look past his recent rocky stretch, which a couple solid weeks should allow them to do.

Lidge is less predictable. He never lost his stuff and has been lights-out again this year, albeit as a set-up man. If he returns healthy and saves some games without imploding, he could be very valuable to team like the Phillies. Plus he is under control through next year.

Wandy should have quite a bit of value. He's still very cheap, under control for a few more years, left-handed, and fairly young. His ERA improvement this year looks real with vastly improved K/9 and BB/9 rates. I haven't done the math, but I'm guessing his component ERA is even lower than his 4.20 ERA, laregly do to a couple really bad outings. I don't know that he's quite enough to bring a great prospect by himself, but he might be.

Here's what I dream about at night:

(1) Wandy and Wheeler to the Braves. Hopefully for Salty. If not, then for Lillibridge and AA or above SP prospect.

(2) Lidge and Loretta/Lamb to the Phillies for Carrasco. Loretta/Lamb would be a good stop-gap upgrade at 3rd and Lidge could close, moving Myers back into the rotation with Gordon as set-up.

(3) Jennings to the Dodgers for Meloan. I'd absolutely love to see them somehow pry LaRoche away, but I just can't see it happening. Maybe if the Dodgers have inexplicably soured on him! Meloan could be a closer soon, which the Astros would need after trading Lidge & Wheeler. Qualls could finish as closer this year and serve as competition next year.

(4) Ensberg to the Twins for Scott Baker, with Astros picking up some of Ensberg's salary. Twins seem to have soured on Baker and might be willing to roll the dice on Ensberg. Baker should have more success in the NL.

An alternative would be to send Jennings & Wheeler to the Braves for Lillibridge (leaving my dream of Salty in the trash, where it should be) and Wandy to the Dodgers for LaRoche. Problem is that Wandy seems like more of a Braves guy (cheap lefty under control for a few years) and Jennings seems like more of a Dodgers guy (righty Schmidt replacement who doesn't tie up rotation spot for young arms coming through system).

wow, that was much longer than I realized it would be!

My proposal only had one of those 4 guys in it (Wheeler or Lidge).

The problem is they have quantity but not quality - and most of the playoff contenders won't have enough space for so many players to give up top prospects. The Yankees are one exception, we've got holes all over the place!

I am going to go ahead and say this. There is a zero percent chance that the Astros land Salty. They just do not have the players. And there is no reason for the Braves to acquire Wheeler because they have no holes in the bullpen and a lot of depth in the minors.

I was just about to say what was stated, so i completely agree with him. No way the astros get salty, they just do not have the pieces. Now, wandy and wheeler make a very interesting choice of a trade bounty, and I will admit that if we could get them for say lilibridge and beau jones, I would have no regrets towards that at all.

Make that Jaime Richmond, do not know where i got jones from

I agree with "was385" and "bravesbeat". There is no way the Braves trade Salty to the Astros. They just don't have the pieces to make it work and I get the feeling Salty is our new 1B with some time behind the plate.

Wandy might be a nice addition, but the Braves are looking for a number 1/2/3 SP to put with Smoltz and Hudson for the playoffs. I still believe the White Sox will trade Contreras to the Mets and Vazquez to the Braves after they have signed Beuhrle to an extension. There will be at least one promising SP going to Chicago for it to work.

I don't see the Braves getting Vazquez. He is owed quite a bit after this year (something the Braves reportedly don't want) and with the salaries or Hudson and Smoltz jumping up big time I just don't see the funds. If they do this they would be officially out of the race to sign Andruw and with his struggles I'm not sure they'd do that.

Saltalamacchia will never be a first baseman as long as he can catch. Who would you rather have, an average-offensive first baseman with bad defense, or an exceptional-offensive catcher with decent defense?

The Braves would be devaluing Salty by moving him to first base. He's an elite catcher prospect, and every other team except the Indians and the Twins want him. You don't just piss that away.

I would like to see the Yankees make a bid for him, and see what they can get without giving up guys like Hughes or Chamberlain. If the Braves are serious about making a playoff run, they could get a tier-2 prospect like Horne or Marquez or Clippard and take on a player like Abreu or Matsui (or even Mussina, since the Braves pitching is nothing to really write home about) with the Yankees picking up significant salary. It could give the Braves a real punch to vault them over the Mets for playoff contention. Really, I just want the Yankees to get Salalamacchia, he would be a perfect fit.

Sorry, while the Braves seem to be showcasing him, I think he'll be the first base man for the Braves.

The Yankees would have to move Wang or Hughes if they wanted any chance of getting Saltalamacchia. I don't see it happening though. The Braves would need a young top of the rotation starter to even think of moving Salty and most teams aren't willing to give that up.

And I have to seriously disagree with your view. Saltalamacchia will most likely become the Braves everyday first baseman. He has good defense behind the plate but has the tools and has shown flashes of brilliance at first. He is new there but could become very good defensively. I believe Saltalamacchia could quite easily become a .300+ hitter with 35+ HRs per season if he moves to first.

And Andrew, whether he plays catcher or first baseman, his bat is still in the lineup, so he loses no value no matter where he plays. Since we already have a supreme offensive catcher, he will be just fine at first.

THE BRAVES ARE NOT GOING TO MOVE SALTY WITHOUT GETTING A YOUNG STARTER WHO CAN TURN INTO A TOP OF THE ROTATION GUY IN THE FUTURE! We do not have the money to take on abreu, and no where he plays, his value as a catcher to other teams does not go down, and his bat is in our lineup every day, so if he plays first, his value actually goes up.
Get some common sense man.

Who says the Astros have to have Saltalamacchia? They have JR Towles, who's doing ok in AA, so draining their farm system might not be their best option right now. They need to focus on 3b and SS because there is no one in their system capable of playing there.

But since people keep saying the Astros don't have the pieces to get Salty, I propose two trade scenarios - Salty for:

1. Hunter Pence - Astros wouldn't do it a 100 years, but that's one piece. Before you Braves homers get a chance to whine about that, make sure you remember that Hunter Pence is outhitting ever single CF on the planet right now, and is a top shelf prospect. Who's the Braves CF next year?

2. Several pieces here - Jennings, Lamb, Albers, Josh Flores. Jennings solves the immediate starter, Lamb provides an upgrade over Thorman, Albers gives the Braves their controlable #3/4 starter for the future and Flores could be playing CF for them in '09, possibly sometime in '08. The Braves would then get a couple draft picks for Jennings and Lamb if they chose not to resign. I'm not sure if either side would do it, but the 'Stros do have parts to make a deal work.

Won't happen. The Braves would just keep Salty at first. The Braves have options in center next year whether it be Blanco, Lillibridge, Francoeur, Jones, Cameron, Byrne, etc. and while Pence is an upgrade over them, his bat is a downgrade from Salty's. Salty doesn't match up with the Astros. Yunel Escobar matches up a lot more.

Darin is right. Towels was who I was alluding to in my earlier post when I said Catcher isnt the biggest priority. I think we should concentrate on a 3B. Andy LaRoche would be great, plus he's cheap so Drayton McLane will love that.

Darin, you bring up an interesting point about Josh Flores. Now that Pence is roaming CF, Flores, if he keeps his numbers up, could be a good trading chip next year. Its too early right now to truly get anything good for him.

Darin,
When any of us say that the Astros do not have the pieces, that means they do have the attractive enough pieces in the players they would be willing to trade. They are not going to trade pence for salty, makes absolutely no sense. And none of the pitchers nor lamb have the talent to be traded to the braves, and Salty himself would be an up grade over thorman or lamb anyway, as was said. So, before you blast us for being homers, how about you understand what we mean and try an correct your own homeresque comments.

WAS385:
Woah, Pence's bat is a downgrade from Salty's? Are you kidding? Pence's minor league OPS is over 100 points higher than Salty's. Pence is even out hitting him right now. I don't want to go on the East Coast Bias Trip here, but if Pence was playing CF in Fenway, he'd be HUGE. He's tucked away in Houston on a crappy team, so he's not getting much spin, but he is and has been better with the bat than Saltalamacchia. And his last name is easier to spell too.

Don't get me wrong, Salty's a great prospect. As a catcher he's a once in a decade type player, but if he's a .300 hitter with 35 homer potential (which he's not), then the Braves should be getting rid of McCann.

As a catcher he holds his maximum value, so if the Braves plan on using Saltalamacchia at 1st, they should trade him as a catcher, because he's worth more that away. 1st baseman are easy to come by. Except for the Braves, but hey, how long can Chipper stay at 3rd anyways?

I agree Salty doesn't match up with the Stros that well (as I orginally stated), but there are parts for a trade to be made, which was my 2nd point.

Bravesbeat:
and after I said that about Braves homers, I get a guy telling me Salty can outhit Pence, despite Salty never outhitting Pence at any level, including now.

First off, please actually watch Salty hit before you make claims as to what he'll be able to do. Saltalamacchia is 6'4" 235 lbs, very strong, and with a smooth swing that generates lift. If he stays at first and barring any drastic injuries, I would be willing to bet anyone that Saltalamacchia reaches 35 HRs more than once in his career.

As far as his bat being better than Pence's, I am going to stick with my claim. Using their career minor league OPS's is a bit ridiculous. Pence took almost the exact same path to the majors as far as their time at each level except that Saltalamacchia did it right out of high school while Pence did it as a college prospect. Also, last year's numbers very much skew salty's minor league stats as he had to deal with a wrist injury that took away most of his offense. A couple years down the road when you compare just their offensive stats, it really isn't going to be a contest. Pence may be a .300 20 HR guy but Salty is going to be .300 and hit about 15 more homeruns.

Darin: While Pence's minor league numbers may be better than Salty's - and by the way I haven't looked them up, I'm taking your word for it - there are a couple of things that make him more valuable than Pence:

1) Position scarcity. Although Salty is seeing more time at 1B right now, he is still a catcher first and foremost. This may change in the next couple of years depending on the team's needs, but it does show his versatility.

2) Salty is a switch-hitter. Enough said.

3) His minor league numbers as a whole were skewed by his wrist injury last year. His first half numbers were brutal!!

That being said, I'd love to have Pence roaming CF for us next year. There is no way we re-sign Andruw.

does it matter anymore? hunter pence is going to be roaming center in the juicebox for the next decade or so, and i've always thought the braves should keep salty to plug a hole at a different position even though i want him in houston as bad as anyone.

by the way, have the braves completely given up on scott thorman or something? granted he's having a shaky rookie year, but so has alex gordon.

Lowry isnt that good, or that young. He is relatively young, and relatively good. Not going to get much better IMO, probably a number 5 starter on a good team, if that. Putting him in a category with Lincecum and Cain is a JOKE.

"The Giants will not trade Noah Lowry. Why would you break up the young pitching core of Cain, Lowry, Lincecum? "

"but finding a good lefty pitcher who is young and cheap is a lot more rare than a shortstop who has a chance to be good but not great"

Was responding to those comments. You are drastically overrating Lowry.

"Thundersticks I agree. Why Jennings? I like Vazquez, but how about Buehrle? We trade for him, then sign him to a contract extension."

He aint stayin with you. Atleast I doubt it. He has a boner for the Cards and with their brutal pitching staff, a blind man can see this coming.

Was358:
I know Salty's a big kid, but right now the only thing I have to go off of is their minor league numbers which says Pence is the better hitter. I could easily be proved wrong, because plenty of guys have come up through the Astros organization as "can't miss" type hitters (Jason Lane anyone) but right now, there's no way I say Salty's a better hitter than Pence.

Now what you and Thundersticks are both missing out is that Salty is a first baseman, at least as long as he is on the Braves he is, and him as a 1b isn't that appealing. He is a catcher, by all means, but as long as he's a Brave, I'll take Pence in CF.

by the way, size doesn't necessarily translate into power.

Tell that to steroid users like Barry Bonds!

Dave, couple things...

1) Salty is a 1B for the Braves, but if he's traded tomorrow he's a C for the Rats. His value isn't decreased at all, and although his numbers look better at C, Salty + McCann at C/1B is better production then all but a few C/1B combos out there.

2) his hitting numbers at an easier possition should increase quite a bit. If he's projected to be about 285/370 with 25hr at C then 300/400 with 35hr is realistic if he doesn't have the daily aches, pains and just overall wear of being a catcher.

3) its pointless anyway to talk about him. Although you can come up with trade ideas, they really don't make any sense. Pence for Salty doesn't help the Braves enough right now. Salty for a group of 5 guys creates a roster nightmare as multiple guys would have to be released or sent to Hou again making the trade heavy in favor of the Stros. Besides, the Braves could do better... There isn't a Braves/Astro trade that makes sence, ie they don't match up.

4) the age of Pence vs Salty at the different levels screws up the compairison there.

5) you are correct anout size not mattering though! There are plenty of big guys with little to no power and weight oftentimes can slow a players swing and inturn power.

Braves fans, would you really not do Salty for Pence? It's not like you don't have an all-star catcher already. Of course the Astros wouldn't do it but if for some reason they proposed this, I can not see how JS would pass this up.

I really wouldn't. The question is, does the offense between center and first become better with Salty or with Pence. I am going to say it right now, I think Salty is a better hitter and I have watched both. If Salty is at first I see .300 and 35+ HRs. So now is Thorman better than a centerfield option like Blanco, Jones (Brandon), Byrnes or Cameron, etc. and I would say no. That is why I wouldn't do it.

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