In case you didn't hear yesterday, Yunel Escobar was traded to Toronto yesterday afternoon along with Jojo Reyes for Alex Gonzalez, Tim Collins, and Tyler Pastornicky.
The major key to the deal is, of course, Escobar. The guy who many thought would be the Braves shortstop of the long-term future was shipped out of town, after terribly struggling this season and infuriating many with his lackadaisical play, including but not limited to, making stupid errors, not running out balls, and just being an all out dick to people on the field. This is not a guy who fits the typical Bobby Cox mold of players. As a result, he's gone. Was the dealing of a talented, albeit hotheaded player, worth it in the long run? That is what this deal comes down to. Its essentially a "win now, or win later" scenario. The Braves believe Gonzalez give them a better chance to win now. He's making more money than Escobar this season (2.75 M for Gonzalez, 433K for Escobar), but will likely make less next season, with Escobar becoming arb-eligible for the first time (Gonzalez has an option for 2.5 M for 2011).
Were Escobar's struggles a fluky thing, or a sign of something worse? His walk rate was a career best 12.3%, while his strikeout rate was right around his career average, sitting at 11.9%. Escobar's line drive rate had fallen down to 18.4% (below his career average), while he was popping the ball up in the infield an astonishing 11.4% of the time. Now THAT is truly absurd. When you're popping the ball up like that, there's a flaw in your swing. I have no idea why no one would work with Escobar and get him to fix that...but I guess these things happened when you're as hardheaded as he was during his tenure as a Brave.
Now, to take a look at Gonzalez. This...is going to be difficult. His career wOBA is .299. but this year, its at .341, thanks to an ISO of .238...50% higher than his career mark. Gonzalez also doesn't walk, and strikes out a ton. One slight perk about Gonzalez's sudden hitting ways: his BABIP is actually 9 points lower than his career average. So maybe he can sustain a .750 OPS for the rest of the year...which is better what Escobar was doing for the Braves. Defensively, its close to a wash...Escobar's career UZR/150 at short is 4.1, Gonzalez's is 7.5 That difference, split in half to signify the rest of the season, results in...1 run for the rest of the year. Yeah.
The others...Jojo Reyes didn't have a future in Atlanta after getting wrecked in his one appearance for the big club this season. He was getting the tar kicked out of him in Gwinnett also...so its whatever. Tim Collins is a 20 year old reliever who was assigned to Mississippi. He's got a 15.28 K/9 this season at AA in 43 innings to go with an unspectacular but not terrible walk rate of 3.35. Just what the Braves need...another power reliever. I don't know why he was sent to Mississippi though...in 55 2/3 AA innings, he's got a strikeout rate of 14.55 and a walk rate of 3.72. I guess the logic is that the Gwinnett bullpen is full enough with guys like Mike Dunn and Stephen Marek, who are both performing very well. Pastornicky was also inexplicably sent to Mississippi, after being with Dunedin in the FSL for the Jays. His only real attribute is his speed, with his 108 steals in 3 seasons as a professional. He's been successful at a 78% clip, which is...about the minimum you're looking for. At least he's not Kyle Rose, getting caught every other attempt. His power is nil, but he doesn't strike out a ton (13.7%), and walks decently enough (10.0%).
One other move to correspond...Scott Diamond was promoted to Gwinnett to take Reyes' roster spot. Just one less reason to watch the M-Braves!