Yunel Escobar-Alex Gonzalez Trade Reactions

The Braves sent Yunel Escobar north for a veteran who happens to lead MLB shortstops in home runs (Alex Gonzalez). It's a win-now move for Atlanta, though they also acquire a pair of intriguing prospects in the process. Meanwhile, the Blue Jays acquire a cheap, young shortstop who can play great defense and has a career OBP of .368. So does that make today's trade a win-win? Here's what the baseball writers are saying:

  • Matt Eddy and Nathan Rode of Baseball America break down the prospects involved and explain that Tim Collins could become a "useful reliever" and Tyler Pastornicky could become a sound defender who hits at the top of the order. 
  • Many of Escobar's teammates wanted to see him traded, according to MLB.com's Mark Bowman.
  • ESPN.com's Buster Olney says this is a "tremendous trade for the Braves." GM Frank Wren told Olney that the Braves wouldn't have made the deal were it not for Gonzalez's affordable 2011 option (Twitter links).
  • Danny Knobler of CBS Sports says Escobar was "not an Atlanta Braves type of player." Gonzalez is having a strong season and should fit in, so Knobler says he is an Atlanta Braves type of player, even if he's not a long-term solution at short.
  • Mychael Urban of CSN Bay Area believes the Giants could have used Escobar (Twitter link). I wonder how many Tigers fans are thinking the same thing about their team.
  • The Blue Jays took a risk and acquired Escobar now, because top players are rarely available when they're playing at their best, Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos explained to MLB.com's Jordan Bastian (Twitter links).
  • Earlier in the season, an Atlanta Brave told Andy Martino of the New York Daily News that Braves manager Bobby Cox hates Yunel Escobar because of perceived lack of hustle.
  • Joe Pawlikowski of FanGraphs says the deal "doesn’t seem nearly as bad for the Braves as it did at first glance," though the Blue Jays still won.
  • R.J. Anderson of FanGraphs believes the trade "has to be looked upon as a pretty worthwhile risk for the Jays."
  • Bryan Smith of FanGraphs says Jo-Jo Reyes doesn't mean much to the Braves, since they have so much pitching depth. Smith also suggests Tyler Pastornicky had considerable appeal for the Braves, since he runs and has raised his walk rate.


Leave a Reply

87 Comments on "Yunel Escobar-Alex Gonzalez Trade Reactions"


Wilsonl
5 years 1 month ago

What?!

coolstorybro222
5 years 1 month ago

Ha. Bobby DID hate Escobar. I knew it.

aap212
5 years 1 month ago

And he’s gone in a couple of months. Perhaps his feelings shouldn’t be the trump card.

coolstorybro222
5 years 1 month ago

Oh yeah a decorated manager cannot say if he doesn’t like a player. Frank Wren tells every trade to Bobby to see if he likes it or not. That’s their relationship.

DetroitTigersGeek
5 years 1 month ago

“I wonder how many Tigers fans are thinking the same thing about their team.”
Trust me, there are a great many a number moderately miffed about this whiff on DD’s part.

Motor_City_Bombshell
5 years 1 month ago

Agreed. I’m hoping they make a push for Stephen Drew now. They need a solid shortstop.

aap212
5 years 1 month ago

No chance. The Braves are still a win now team, and while they made an easy to top deal, they did get a right now shortstop in the trade, which Detroit obviously can’t offer.

deere5800
5 years 1 month ago

“Bryan Smith of FanGraphs says Jo-Jo Reyes doesn’t mean much to the Braves, since they have so much pitching depth”

Good thing he went to a team with no pitching depth…oh yeah, nevermind

NL_East_Rivalry
5 years 1 month ago

Jays ended up one of the only matches for Escobar. The teams that wanted him couldn’t give the Braves anything to help them NOW & LATER. The Jays did. It’s not the overwhelming trade the Braves wanted, but it appears it’s the only trade that could get done w/o just getting prospects, so Wren pulled the trigger.

DK8
5 years 1 month ago

Ummm, Wren is not limited to just one trade. Trade Escobar to Det for prospects, then trade prospects to Jays for Gonzales. Sure it takes a lot more legwork for the Braves front office, but can anyone really dispute that a half season of minimum salary and 3 future seasons of arb eligible Escobar is worth far, far more than a half season of Gonzales and then a cheap option year?

Just because the Braves perceive Escobar’s contributions to the team to be less than the sum of his stats because of the attitude doesn’t mean other teams do!

Sophist4
5 years 1 month ago

Completely surprised there’s much positive spin for the Braves on this move. Maybe it shows the respect journalists have for Cox or the Braves FO.

Selling low on a 27 year old SS with a career OPS+ of 112 coming into this year because of a down year (largely a BAbip issue as far as BA is concerned, since his batted ball data is identical to year’s past and his BB% is showing marked improvement, and a half season power loss) and because he doesn’t get along with a retiring manager for a .248/.294/.402 (81 OPS+) career hitter who leads the AL in “just enough” HR (how does the Ted’s RF wall compare to Rogers’?) but who otherwise is the same old out-machine SS is not a “win now” move nor is it a “win later” move.

Escobar will likely outperform Gonzalez over the remainder of *this* season. Gonzalez may not hit 6 more HR this year. May only reservation is that you have to credit the Braves with some knowledge of Escobar that we and the Jays don’t have. Otherwise, it seems The Braves soured on Escobar.

inkstainedscribe
5 years 1 month ago

The concern about Escobar was that he was a head case with incredible talent who tried to play on instincts rather than smarts. Too many preventable base running errors, botched routine plays, etc. (As in Saturday’s lollipop throw on a garden-variety grounder that could have ended Glaus’s season; failure to turn a routine DP; and misplay of a popup, all within two innings.)

Someone compared him to Garry Templeton, and while he lacks Templeton’s raw speed, that may not be a bad way to look at him.

Some tough love from Gaston may straighten him out. We’ll see.

aap212
5 years 1 month ago

He was pretty damn good without the maturity.

Sophist4
5 years 1 month ago

Was this a new concern? This sort of criticism can be leveled at a lot of the league’s best players.

Just seems to be that the Braves/Cox wanted Escobar out, and found a way to do so without downgrading their defense or their chances to get the NL title (possibly even catching HR-low OBP lightening in a bottle).

But the idea that you trade a guy with Escobar’s offensive track record for Gonzalez’ as a “win now” move is uncanny unless you credit the Braves with some very special knowledge of Escobar’s hitting ability (his peripherals, HR/FB aside, seem to disagree) or some very special insight into those two prospects.

It may be a good move considering their system and their distaste for Escobar as a whole, but as a trade in isolation it just doesn’t seem like a good deal for the Braves.

aap212
5 years 1 month ago

Preaching to the choir, dude.

James DeMott
5 years 1 month ago

As a Braves fan, I began to dislike Escobar, mainly because he’s become a lazy player. I mean, he doesn’t hustle anymore. I’m not sure what happened to his power numbers, but he’s lacking in almost every department.

5 years 1 month ago

I was never really impressed with AGon. when he was with the Reds for I think it was 2 years. Apparently the Braves did not like the younger player so it looks to be a win win for both sides. Production wise I would predict that Escobar will do better the long run. Just don’t see what was so attractive to get AGon??? yeah his home runs are decent this year but that’s really the only stat that sticks out to me .. So the Blue Jays get a cocky player. Brandon Phillips on the Reds is a pretty cocky guy too but you don’t seem then trying to get rid of him. Course Phillips is one of the better 2b players in all the NL so maybe that is not a good comparison. Just don’t think the trade was really a bad thing for either team just seems like the Blue Jays got the slight edge in my book.

bgbravesfan
5 years 1 month ago

I don’t think cockiness is Escobar’s problem. Chipper is cocky. Cox has alway had cocky players (Deion Sanders and Kenny Lofton, anyone?). Escobar appears lazy and doesn’t play with a respect for the game. That’s different than cocky, and that is why he’s not in atlanta anymore.

alxn
5 years 1 month ago

This trade makes absolutely no sense for the Braves. Theres a decent chance that Escobar will be the better shortstop for the rest of the season, let alone for the rest of his contract. The Braves now have nothing resembling a long term solution at 3B or SS.

5 years 1 month ago

They got a solid SS prospect in this very deal. AGON’s option will be picked up and Salcedo is is the waiting in the wings. This deal had to be done. Yunel showed nothing at all resembling his past two years…which were just solid-to-good and not outstanding. He is still a player rated on potential and has proven top be a cancer…Kudos, Mr. Wren.

DK8
5 years 1 month ago

Based on the scouting reports posted here, that solid SS prospect, if everything breaks just right, is the same player as Yunel Escobar. Doesn’t seem like a good idea to trade an established SS for 2 prospects with limited upside and an established SS who has never been better than the guy you gave up.

bravesman218
5 years 1 month ago

you obviously have absolutely no knowledge of the braves farm system. i literally laughed out loud when I saw you say they have nothing resembling a long term solution at 3B or SS. ever heard of Edwared Salcedo? How abt Mike Lipka (who will probably become a CF but is a SS right now)? What about Mycal Jones? Or even Pastornisky? sheesh kno wat ur talkin abt before u say somethin so blantantly wrong

alxn
5 years 1 month ago

I’m literally laughing out loud that you think I’m the one who knows nothing about the Braves system. Salcedo is a 3B long term, Lipka is CF (why you even brought him up is beyond me–playing SS in high school does not make him a long term MLB SS), Mycal Jones will be a 2B or utility man, and Pastornisky is a utility man at best. None of these guys will ever be a major league caliber shortstop unless their career tracks change significantly. Furthermore, none of those players will be ready next year or even the next year after more than likely. Chances are that one or more won’t even pan out, so to put all the chips for the future of our MLB team in one of these players is ridiculous. Many players play SS in college or high school and then are forced to change positions to make it to the bigs. Just because the Braves have a bunch of short stops at the lower levels does not mean they have a long term option.

bravesman218
5 years 1 month ago

Ok well then you knocked out half your arguement right there. You said we have nothing related to a long term solution at 3B or SS. You said Salcedo is a longterm 3B. Ok so there’s half of it. Yeah I know Lipka will be a CF I was just puttin him in there just because you never know what might happen. Okay so you can say Salcedo for some reason against all your knowledge does become our SS. I’m sure you’ll say I’m an idiot for even suggesting this but if you say Mycal Jones is a 2B, I still believe Pastornicky will at least be a 2B, you can put either of them at 2B and move Martin to 3rd. His power is still improving and one game it was said that he is more comfortable at 3B than anywher else. So go ahead and take your shots and my opinions

alxn
5 years 1 month ago

Salcedo is still a couple years away from making it, so he’s not a longterm solution at anything right now. The Braves can’t count on him to be their 3B or SS of the future. Bottom line, unless something dramatically changes the Braves will not be a very good team if any of those players you mentioned is starting on the big league team next year, and there is a chance that none of them start on the big league team ever. Escobar was at the very least security at the position for the next several years with the potential to become a star, and I do believe he will be a better player than Alex Gonzalez for the rest of 2010.

baseballz
5 years 1 month ago

I think that Wren is still mad at Escobar’s agency for the Furcal debacle and at that time he did say he would no longer deal with that agency. Add that to Escobar’s lack of hustle and knack for acting like a punk and you have a situation where you trade the clubhouse cancer away for a veteran guy who will fit right in, play similarly high caliber D to that of Escobar and will get his share of hits.

Will Escobar outproduce Gonzalez ? Maybe, but at least the Braves know what Gonzalez is, a .270 hitter with near .300 obp and some pop. Escobar is hitting .238 and who know this could be a lost season. To be honest though, it probably isn’t, since the only staggering difference between this year and last years performance is an incredibly high and unsustainable infield-flyball ratio (which went from his career avg 3.6 to a gaudy 11.6) Once Escobar sorts this out he should be fine it looks like he’s just trying to compensate for pitchers trying to throw more out of the Zone and him not laying off the stuff.

All this is unimportant ultimatly unless you consider that Cox wants to win in his final year and Atlanta is loyal to its favoured employees almost to a fault, cough Glavine. Great job on both teams in executing some daring trading, and honestly, if Gonzalez is the starting shortstop in the World Series this year with the Braves no one will even bat an eye when they pick up his option.

Yankees420
5 years 1 month ago

You say “near .300 obp” like it’s a good thing.

zeroes
5 years 1 month ago

Pretty good run of luck the Jays have going:

1. They swapped a couple nothing minor leaguers (Bell and Godfrey) for Marco Scutaro
2. They let Scutaro walk and quickly sign (Boston’s backup plan) Gonzalez. Boston is then signs Scutaro and the Jays get two draft picks: Aaron Sanchez and Justin Nicolino
3. Gonzalez has a great half season and they flip him for Escobar.

So really, even if Escobar is a complete and utter flop, they can still come out ahead if Sanchez, Nicolino and Reyes outperform Collins and Pastornicky. That’s not impossible given that Sanchez is easily the best prospect out of the bunch right now. And that’s not even accounting for the the quality performances they got from Scutaro and Gonzalez.

Chris Moe
5 years 1 month ago

Simply put, it was a trade made for winning now. The Braves gave up two players they really didn’t want anymore for a better chance at winning in 2010. Good job FW!

Brandon Woodworth
5 years 1 month ago

This trade is a win-win. I’m a Braves fan and I HOPE we win the World Series, but I don’t nkow if we will, but it certainley helps us win NOW. For the Blue Jays, they win when they trade Escobar in 2 years for good prospects when they’re out of the playoff race again.

5 years 1 month ago

Anyone else wondering if ten years from now we’ll remember this as the Tim Collins trade? he’s been overlooked his whole life because he’s just 5’6″ on a good day, but he has filthy stuff, throws lefty, and has completely dominated at each level, including his 20yr old AA season.

5 years 1 month ago

I can see that. I was shocked to see the jays were willing to part with Tim, since they’re in dire need of bullpen help. Collins numbers in AA this year have been fantastic.

andhicks
5 years 1 month ago

Love the trade as a Jays fan. Yunel was a dominant force in ’09.
I’d imagine 90% of Jays fans feel that way.

I wish Gonzalez all the best with the Braves and hope he performs for them, but I can’t see many Braves fans loving the trade.

5 years 1 month ago

Yunel is a headcase and doesn’t hustle. Doesn’t pay attention in-game, costing us several games. Too many blunders to list. Yes he does normally hit well, which pushed these things to the side – but when he doesn’t hit, he got the boot.

5 years 1 month ago

I don’t buy this “he made too many blunders” argument. Escobar was ranked as one of the top defensive SSs in the NL with only Tulo and Rollins being definitively better. You’d think that if he was making so many mistakes that the numbers would show it.

They don’t. They show the opposite, in fact. People just like to hate on Escobar because he plays with flair and doesn’t “fall in line” and play “American” baseball.

5 years 1 month ago

Ok. Watch the Mets game last week. In the span of 2 (?) innings he dropped two flyballs, and almost broke Glaus arm. The other month he didn’t tag up on a long routine fly ball – he was halfway to home in a tie game. He has been benched multiple times for not hustling. He has bleached tips.

“Blunders” can mean more than defense FYI.

5 years 1 month ago

Okay that was one bad game. It still doesn’t change the fact that by nearly all defensive metrics he is ranked among the top 5 NL SSs defensively, which you would think would be impossible if he truly were “always” making bad plays.

This is exactly what I’m talking about. When it comes to Yunel Escobar, everybody has this immense double standard. When somebody else makes a mistake, it’s unfortunate. When Escobar makes a mistake, it’s “THAT BONEHEAD WHEN WILL HE EVER LEARN” just because he plays a flashier game than Bobby’s “good ol’ boys.” Even though, objectively (i.e. not via the selective “eyeball test” that I’m assuming you and others are going by) he’s one of the best defensively.

ronny9
5 years 1 month ago

He’s just a head case, that’s all it is.

5 years 1 month ago

Alex Gonzalez has basically been a career backup/defensive replacement minus a few years for the Florida Marlins. I’m just not sure how you go from that to a guy that “helps you win now”. Sure he’s having a career year but that if this is a career year and he’s batting .260 with a below .300 on base, yes homeruns are high but literally everyone hits homeruns for Toronto, hell Marco Scutaro doubled his previous career high in bombs the one year he was there. As a Phillies fan I love to see Escobar leave and I simply question this move and if the Braves can hang on to the division. Maybe you Braves fan can describe how he was a cancer in the club house as you would know better than I.

My last question is if management knows Bobby Cox is retiring after the season then why give into his hatred for Escobar? Why give up on a 27 year old shortstop with still massive potential if Cox is going to retire? Is it respect for the manager or does management hate him as much as Cox?

5 years 1 month ago

Finally someone realized his Gonzalez real value… He should never have been a starter when he was with the Reds. Braves face it you didn’t get much for the players you lost.. Just eat it and deal with it.

DK8
5 years 1 month ago

I agree, Jay. This trade sucks as a Braves fan.

5 years 1 month ago

I completely agree, with all the comments. From a baseball standpoint, this was an awful trade.

Bert1
5 years 1 month ago

Its a great trade if youre a Blue jays fan

Bert1
5 years 1 month ago

Its a great trade if youre a Blue jays fan

Yankees420
5 years 1 month ago

Not to nitpick, but Scutaro was in Toronto for 2 years, in which he hit 7 & 12 HR’s, his previous high being 9 (in 118 G), while hitting 7 twice before as well (in 134 & 104 games).

DK8
5 years 1 month ago

My problem with the trade as a Braves fan is this:

1. There are several contenders in need of a SS who would give up prospects to get Escobar.
2. Given that Escobar has 3 more cost controlled seasons after this one, I have a hard time believing that those prospects would not have been better than Collins, Pastornicky and whatever the Braves would have given up to get A. Gonzales.
3. So, shouldn’t the Braves have shopped Escobar to the highest bidder and then turned around and traded 2 B-level prospects for Alex Gonzales?

Sniderlover
5 years 1 month ago

Contenders would probably be more interested in Gonzalez since he is playing much better. They probably shopped Escobar but I’m pretty sure they didn’t receive good prospect(s) for Escobar and instead turned around and traded for Gonzalez and 2 decent prospects.

If Escobar were to be traded, it would likely be a rebuilding team like the Jays if you Braves wanted some decent prospects back.

I’m not sure what Escobar could have fetched but I don’t think it would be more than 2 level B + 1 level C prospect. Jays offered Gonzalez who has a cheap club option who is playing great and 2 C level prospects, although their stocks have risen since the beginning of the year.

Personally, I think it’s a win-win. I hope Gonzalez does well with Atlanta and I hope Escobar comes back to his 09′ self!

DK8
5 years 1 month ago

I’m sure there would be some contenders that prefer Gonzales, because he is playing better. But I also think that given Escobar’s previously established level of performance, there are some who would prefer Escobar for the rest of this season (as well as in the future). You also make an interesting point about rebuilding teams wanting Escobar, which would actually increase his value because that would open the door for another 10 teams that would likely have interest.

DK8
5 years 1 month ago

I think Stephen Drew is a pretty good comp in terms of value to Escobar. Escobar has been better prior to this year, but Drew is showing some growth this year based on a quick glance at their respective WAR. They also are pretty close in service time–Drew was a 1st year arb player this year. Drew is a year younger, but only has 2 more years of team control. Don’t you think the Diamondbacks are going to ask for at least one top prospect in any potential Drew deal? I’m not talking about a top-10 prospect, but top-50 doesn’t seem out of the question. And then the acquiring team would probably have to add a couple of guys like Collins and Pastornicky.

A bad half season from Escobar just doesn’t seem to cause his value to drop this much. I think the Braves FO tends to overreact when they have a need or a perceived weakness (see D. Lowe and Kawakami contracts). This trade reminds me of the Willy Aybar with the Rays a couple years ago when the Braves dumped him for a crappy LOOGY because they didn’t like Aybar’s attitude.

Sniderlover
5 years 1 month ago

I’m sure they tried to look for better offers but didn’t get it which is why they did the trade with the Jays.

But I’m not the GM so I don’t know the kind of market or value in Escobar.

DK8
5 years 1 month ago

It seems like they felt they had to do an Escobar trade where they got back a SS. My point is why not make 2 simultaneous trades.

I had the same question about the J Vasquez trade Wren made before the season. The Braves wanted an outfielder, and it seems like Wren decided he had to get a ML outfielder in the Vasquez deal so he settled for Melky Cabrera. Maybe if Wren just trades for the best package of prospects he can get for Vasquez and Escobar, he can turn around and deal prospects for a higher quality player.

It seems like Wren’s philosophy on trading is that when he has an asset he wants to sell, he HAS to fill a need for the team, even if it isn’t filled very well. I tend to think you should trade an asset for the best assets you can get, and then use your assets to make trades to fill your needs.

DK8
5 years 1 month ago

I almost forgot to include the Teix vs Kotchman trade in this category. The 2008 Braves weren’t going anywhere, so why did they have to get a 1b back in that deal?

Earth to Wren: If you have a Mercedes and you want a Camry, you don’t have to trade the Mercedes for the Camry–you can sell the Mercedes, buy the Camry and pocket the extra money!

There seems to be a pattern developing here, and it looks like pure laziness. It may be

DK8
5 years 1 month ago

just a coincidence, but it is disturbing nonetheless.

CoryBravesfan1
5 years 1 month ago

I agree with you on FW to and extent, Trade Vazquez for prospects may have made more sense, but trading Escobar for prospects in the middle of a divisional race with only B.Hicks and possiblily Infante at SS may not have been the best move.

5 years 1 month ago

I heard rumblings that the Reds like Drew… Make us an offer..

migueljablonski
5 years 1 month ago

actually he got strung out on Alcohol and drugs and VANISHED. He didn’t even call the Braves to tell them where he was. So, it’s a little different picture than the one you are painting pal

5 years 1 month ago

My problem with this trade as a Braves fan is that we essentially traded a .301/.375/.426 player with 3 years of team control for Jeff “IMA SWING” Francoeur who can play SS and is on the wrong side of 30.

DK8
5 years 1 month ago

How about this solution:

If the Braves really think Gonzales helps them win now, trade for him, option B Hicks to the minors and sit Escobar on the bench while they try to trade him. Of course that wouldn’t help Escobar’s trade value, but would it drop it lower than the return they got from the Jays?

Or if you wanted to send a message, option Escobar to the minors. In conjunction with trading for A Gonzales, I think that is a viable, albeit crappy, solution since Escobar has less than 3 years service time. Then, when AGon inevitably regresses to his true self, you still have Escobar to come up and replace him.

Or, trade him for a reclamation project like Alex Gordon. Surely Dayton Moore would be interested in a stubborn SS

DK8
5 years 1 month ago

who is far more talented than Yuniesky Betancourt.

5 years 1 month ago

This is a moot point…. for obvious reason so how can this be a solution as the your post started out as. Besides maybe Toronto would not give up Gonzalez if Escobar is not included.

Yankees420
5 years 1 month ago

“Besides maybe Toronto would not give up Gonzalez if Escobar is not included”

That made me laugh a little because I very highly doubt AA was talking to Wren and said “If you want Gonzalez, Escobar must be included or no deal.”

wayne_gomes
5 years 1 month ago

Why not option Escobar, get Gonzalez anyway (it’s not like he’s ungettable without Escobar) and shop Yunel in the offseason?

It’s basically impossible that Escobar’s value would be any lower after the year than it is now

DK8
5 years 1 month ago

Exactly right!