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braves-acquire-kotsay | January | 2008 Articles

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Braves Acquire Kotsay

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Update: Kotsay passed his physical and this deal is worse than we thought. According to Mark Bowman, Jamie Richmond will also be included in the deal. Richmond isn't that great of a prospect and at this point probably profiles as a back-end starter at best, but Wren was probably overpaying with Devine. Now this? I like Kotsay, I think he is going to be a very solid center fielder for us next season, but Frank Wren just pretty much got hosed. Update: Thought I'd give you guys something fun with this A's commercial in light of what seems to be almost a done deal. Buster Olney is reporting that an agreement is in place between Oakland and Atlanta and now Dave O'Brien is saying the same thing. The deal will send Mark Kotsay and just over $5 million in cash to the Braves for reliever Joey Devine. The deal will leave the Braves paying just $2 million for Kotsay this season. Atlanta has been looking for a one-year stopgap for center field since Andruw Jones left via free agency. Kotsay certainly fits the bill, however I'm not sure about the price Frank Wren paid for the veteran outfielder. A promising reliever like Devine who possibly has a future as a closer seems like too much for a player of Kotsay's caliber, who has durability issues. Kotsay underwent arthroscopic surgery on his back before spring training last year and was rushed back to the majors, only putting up a line of .214/.279/296 in 56 games. If we look back to his last healthy season though, Kotsay had a line .275/.332/.386 and is only three years removed from a season in which he posted an .829 OPS. Kotsay seems capable of easily posting a .700+ OPS, which combined with his great defense, makes for a perfectly acceptable option next year. Devine was very impressive last year in the minors, but as has been the case with him throughout his career, he really struggled with command once he got a callup. Between Mississippi and Richmond in 2007, the 24-year old reliever had a 1.89 ERA and 78 strikeouts in only 57 innings. He seemed like the complete package, combining great stuff with great results. His strikeout rate was high, he showed pretty good control, and limited hits. Once Devine got the call to Atlanta, he yet again struggled horribly with command. In only 8.1 innings, Devine walked eight batters, though all the rest of his stats were good. What can I say? I like Kotsay to come in next year and have a pretty good year as our eighth place hitter. I think he is exactly what we were looking for but I think Frank Wren overpaid. It seems very likely that Wren could have given up less, even if it meant taking on a little more salary, and gotten a much better deal out of this.

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