Braves Blow The Chance To Fix RH Power Vacuum

Carlos Quentin Joins Padres For Two Unrated Prospects

While Frank Wren and the Braves front office prepared for Their New Year’s Eve party, the Padres traded for an outfielder who was both affordable and a perfect fit for the Braves needs. The White Sox got two minor league pitching prospects; Simon Castro and Pedro Hernandez. Although the 23-year-old Castro was ranked as the Padres third best prospect by Baseball America at this time last year,   BP’s Kevin Goldstein says that a lack of secondary pitches caused his to go backwards this year. The left handed Hernandez finished the season in AAA and as a left hander will probably get a shot in the majors at some point but isn’t in anyone’s list of top prospects.

In October I pointed out that Quentin was a good fit in Atlanta and that he could be picked up for a reasonable price.  In the end the the Sox executed a salary dump by virtually giving him to the Padres. MLB Trade Rumors projected Quentin to earn $7.5M this year in arbitration and while it might have bee a tight fit that could have fit in the Braves payroll this year. A longer term extension could well have been negotiated pushing some money to next year when we’ll have more flexibility and solidifying left field while solving two big issues for the Braves; right handed power other than Uggla and someone who could hit lefties consistently.

Last year:

  • Quentin had 24 homers 77 RBI and an ISO of .245; the closest Braves were Dan Uggla (ISO at 220), Brian McCann (24 homers) and Freddie Freeman (76 RBI)
  • Quentin was 297/.388/.554 ; ISO .257 vs lefties. The Braves had no one who was anywhere near that mark and finished with a team slash .228/.290/.352 the worst in baseball.

The rest of the division  knows those stats to and it’s not a coincidence that the NL East got more left handed this year. In addition to Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels in Philly we now have Mark Buehrle with the Marlins and and Gio Gonzalez in D.C to contend with.

Quentin could have and should have been in a Braves uniform next year. We could have easily provided what the Padres sent to Chicago;  they keep telling us we have the deepest pitching around and these Padres pitchers were not even close to untouchable prospects. The price was low the potential gain was high but the Braves were apparently uninterested. When Dave O’Brien of the AJC was asked a couple of months ago if the Braves were interested in Quentin he said they had told him no (sorry I don’t have the Twitter link now it’s been a couple of months.)

A quick look at the  remaining options show most are not as good a fit as Quentin or are certain to be more expensive. Certainly Matt Diaz isn’t even in the same conversation as Quentin. What will we end up with? Seth Smith? Give me a break please.

While everyone else in the division has become stronger the Braves have done nothing to address their weak areas; nothing at all. In spite of his stated goal of adding a right handed bat and the mythical veteran shortstop who can hit the GM’s done nothing except repeatedly say he likes his team. I like the team but I know they have weaknesses. I and the rest of the fans also want to win. Quentin would have made this more likely and the price was right.  Sorry Frank, you blew this.  Happy New Year?

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Tags: Carlos Quentin Frank Wren

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  • http://tomahawktake.com/ CarlosCollazo

    Money problem is the biggest reason this didn’t happen. DOB said we have around $5 mil or less to spend. If he’s going to cost that much than we wouldn’t have enough money to get him. I’m guessing we sit tight except for a Jack Wilson type bench upgrade and send Prado into left to start the season.

  • http://tomahawktake.com/ CarlosCollazo

    Money problem is the biggest reason this didn’t happen. DOB said we have around $5 mil or less to spend. If he’s going to cost that much than we wouldn’t have enough money to get him. I’m guessing we sit tight except for a Jack Wilson type bench upgrade and send Prado into left to start the season.

  • FredOwens

    @CarlosCollazo I agree that’s the theoretical reason. My problem is this, in a theoretical payroll of 100,000,000 an extra 2.5 million is 2.5%. if you don’t have that small amount of flexibility in order to significantly increase your odds of winning there’s a major problem with the financial side of the business. If he’s the difference between playoffs and no playoff’s or an extra round, what’s the projected loss in gate from not getting there? What about sending Matt Diaz somewhere for nothing to dump his salary; Houston, Oakland, Seattle for example. That would free up $2 million of wasted payroll Diaz is going to disappoint again this year.

    If finally they are 3 million short pick up the phone and call Chipper. Ask him to defer $3 million until next year. He can afford to wait and we will have it to give next year. he could well do that for a chance to make the playoff’s one more time.

    The loss of B /C level pitching prospects now is nothing. At the deadline the cost for an equivalent or lesser player will be significantly higher. The players sent to Houston for Bourn are worth a lot more than those the White Sox got in this deal. Unless there are undisclosed financial issues like those in New York or LA, this is either a bad decision process or bad resource management.

  • http://tomahawktake.com/ CarlosCollazo

    @FredOwens There really isn’t any reason to increase the budget to add another bat. The Braves offense definitely underachieved in 2011 and suffered from injuries and bad luck. There is no reason to think that all of that happens again this year. We have Bourn for a complete season and should be confident in Dan Uggla having a full season, as well as bounce backs from Prado and Heyward. Here’s Kent Covington’s take: http://braveswire.com/braves-offense-could-be-among-nls-best-no-seriously/

  • FredOwens

    @CarlosCollazo I agree that’s the theoretical reason. My problem is this, in a theoretical payroll of 100,000,000 an extra 2.5 million is 2.5%. if you don’t have that small amount of flexibility in order to significantly increase your odds of winning there’s a major problem with the financial side of the business. If he’s the difference between playoffs and no playoff’s or an extra round, what’s the projected loss in gate from not getting there? What about sending Matt Diaz somewhere for nothing to dump his salary; Houston, Oakland, Seattle for example. That would free up $2 million of wasted payroll Diaz is going to disappoint again this year.

    If finally they are 3 million short pick up the phone and call Chipper. Ask him to defer $3 million until next year. He can afford to wait and we will have it to give next year. he could well do that for a chance to make the playoff’s one more time.

    The loss of B /C level pitching prospects now is nothing. At the deadline the cost for an equivalent or lesser player will be significantly higher. The players sent to Houston for Bourn are worth a lot more than those the White Sox got in this deal. Unless there are undisclosed financial issues like those in New York or LA, this is either a bad decision process or bad resource management.

  • FredOwens

    @CarlosCollazo A very optimistic outlook (rose colored glasses anyone) but I don’t think any of those things make the lineup less vulnerable to lefties. It ignores Chipper being 40 and Diaz being 34 and on his downhill slide. Time will tell

  • http://tomahawktake.com/ CarlosCollazo

    @FredOwens He was just stating the player’s ceilings, not projecting anything. Hopefully Diaz doesn’t get enough AB’s to make that much difference.

  • http://tomahawktake.com/ CarlosCollazo

    @FredOwens There really isn’t any reason to increase the budget to add another bat. The Braves offense definitely underachieved in 2011 and suffered from injuries and bad luck. There is no reason to think that all of that happens again this year. We have Bourn for a complete season and should be confident in Dan Uggla having a full season, as well as bounce backs from Prado and Heyward. Here’s Kent Covington’s take: http://braveswire.com/braves-offense-could-be-among-nls-best-no-seriously/

  • FredOwens

    @CarlosCollazo A very optimistic outlook (rose colored glasses anyone) but I don’t think any of those things make the lineup less vulnerable to lefties. It ignores Chipper being 40 and Diaz being 34 and on his downhill slide. Time will tell

  • http://tomahawktake.com/ CarlosCollazo

    @FredOwens He was just stating the player’s ceilings, not projecting anything. Hopefully Diaz doesn’t get enough AB’s to make that much difference.

  • FredOwens

    @CarlosCollazo I do understand that he said that. However, to draw the conclusion we don’t need a bat is to imply that he believes they will be close enough to it to make up the 160 or so additional runs it will take to win the division as well as hit left handed pitching at a rate that puts us at least at major league average instead of dead last..

  • http://tomahawktake.com/ CarlosCollazo

    @FredOwens We will just have to be glad there are a ton more right handed starters then. Also, the Phillies haven’t gotten any better offensively, and their pitching won’t be either.

  • FredOwens

    @CarlosCollazo I do understand that he said that. However, to draw the conclusion we don’t need a bat is to imply that he believes they will be close enough to it to make up the 160 or so additional runs it will take to win the division as well as hit left handed pitching at a rate that puts us at least at major league average instead of dead last..

  • http://tomahawktake.com/ CarlosCollazo

    @FredOwens We will just have to be glad there are a ton more right handed starters then. Also, the Phillies haven’t gotten any better offensively, and their pitching won’t be either.