Saturday, November 15, 2008

Braves Peaved at Padres?

It appears that after six weeks of intense negotiations, the Braves have pulled out of the Jake Peavy trade talks. The teams can very easily spark those discussions again at any point, but for now it doesn't look like the Braves will acquire Peavy.

That's disappointing on one, obvious level. You can wave all the red flags you want regarding his high-stress delivery, last year's elbow injury and home/road splits. Those are legitimate fears, but the reality is there are risks any time you acquire a pitcher for multiple years.

And this is one special pitcher. I refuse to engage in the age-old practice of denigrating great players who come close to moving to the fan's favorite team but ultimately don't. That's a favorite pastime of college football fans on recruiting sites, and I'm seeing some of it on the Braves message board I frequent. Not only is Peavy an extraordinary player, he's signed at a relatively cheap rate for several years. A Peavy trade would not be a replay of the disastrous Teixeira move. Peavy could very easily be a part of the next good Braves team. And one could argue (rather poorly) that with Peavy on the roster, the "next good Braves team" could be the 2009 club.

But Braves GM Frank Wren probably made the right decision in pulling the plug. Reports vary, but the final offer seems to be some version of Yunel Escobar, Charlie Morton, Blaine Boyer and Gorkys Hernandez. I understand why that wasn't enough for Padres GM Kevin Towers. Escobar's a solid young player, but he's not a stud, and the three pitchers are far from sure things. If you're dealing Jake Peavy and his reasonable long-term contract, you want top-flight talent. There's no such thing a can't-miss prospect, but you want minor leaguers who are close enough.

In this case, that means you want super prospect Tommy Hanson, a pitcher who is busy eviscerating the hitter-friendly Arizona Fall League. That means you want highly regarded outfielder Jason Heyward.

And Wren can't give up Hanson or Heyward. Those two, along with power-hitting catcher Tyler Flowers and first baseman Freddie Freeman, form the future of the franchise. Considering where the Braves stand, the future is more important than the present.

1 comment:

Tanto said...

The thing that annoys me the most about this whole situation is that the Braves aren't going to say "Well, we made a good run at Peavy but it didn't work out. Time to hold tight and build for the future." They're just going to try the same tactics with worse players (Dempster?), even though the team is clearly not a few pitchers and an outfielder away.

I wonder what it would take for management to realize that this team isn't going anywhere until the young players establish themselves. Missing the playoffs three years in a row didn't do it. A 90-loss team didn't do it. They always think that with a few pieces, they're going to be right back where they were in the '90s, but it just isn't going to happen.