Good Sunday Braves faithful. It’s a VERY good day for the Braves lineup indeed. By now you will know that sometime between 1 a.m. central and 6 a.m. central Ed Wade and Frank Wren made a deal that brings a real leadoff man, stolen base threat and gold glove center fielder Michael Bourn to Atlanta for center fielder Jordan Schafer, Double-A starter Brett Oberholtzer, righty Double-A starter Paul Clemens, and righty Triple-A reliever Juan Abreu. Baseball America rated Oberholtzer our number 8 prospect and Clemens number 9 while Abreu didn’t make the top 10.Schafer’s record is well known and after his many ups and downs with the Braves a fresh start with Houston may reignite his career. He has the talent to be a high quality major league center fielder. I hope he uses this opportunity to restart a career that got sidetracked by incident and injury in the last two years. Schafer’s a good guy, I wish him the best; except when he plays the Braves of course .
Lefty Oberholtzer had a great spring impressing scouts and fans with his stuff. With Mississippi he was 9-9 with a 3.74 ERA and a 1.261 WHIP in 127 2/3 innings. He averaged 6.6 K/9 and had a K.walk ratio of 2.21. Teammate Clemens was 6-5 with a 3.73 ERA and 1.353 WHIP in 108 2/3 innings, He averages 7.7 K/9 and had a K/walk ratio of 2.11. Reliever Abreu appeared in 41 games throwing 48 innings, striking out 68 and walking 27 with a WHIP of 1.271 and a 2.25 ERA.
Regulars readers – yep both of you – will know that I thought all along Bourn was the right answer. Two days ago I wrote:
We need players who
- Get on base (high OBP)
- Hit left handed pitching
- Understand that the team winning is more important that their numbers
- Preferably play at one of our weakest hitting positions, CF or SS
Bourn answers those key needs perfectly with an OBP of 363, a split line against left handers of .284/.341/.397, plays gold glove center field and played his tail off for a team that was going nowhere. He said that he wanted to stay in Houston but I expect him to enjoy Atlanta and ignite an offense that has been inconsistent this year. He’s also stolen 39 bases – 10 more than the whole Braves team – while being caught only 7 times.
Late last night it was reported that Ed Wade and the Astros wanted Julio Teheran and Randall Delgado for Bourn. I called that extortion as it exceeds his value significantly and was considering what I would write this morning when I learned that while I slept he had an epiphany that whoever he got from the Braves would be superior to any other offer. In the end he got a major league center fielder and three very good young arms for pitching staff. I know many say that he got taken but I disagree. While more pitching heavy than I predicted yesterday, it closely matches it in value and seems fair for a player they were going to trade in the off season and who has only one more year of under Braves control before Scott Boras takes him to free agency. Boras always takes his players to free agency so bank on that if Boras remains his agent.
I congratulate GM Frank Wren for this trade. It’s fair, addresses needs directly and gives us real a chance in the post season this year. I’d like him to address another right handed bullpen arm and Alex Gonzalez horrible performance with RISP – perhaps the rumors of an Omar Infante return will do that. The day isn’t over, bullpen help is available and not outrageously expensive, and Infante is just across the field. Is another miracle or two too much to ask?