The Atlanta Braves have had a busy week around the Holiday's. On December 22nd, the Braves traded RHP Javier Vazquez and LHP Boone Logan to the New York Yankees for OF Melky Cabrera, LHP Mike Dunn and RHP Aroyds Vizcaino. Then a day later, reports surfaces of former World Series MVP 3B Troy Glaus signing a one year contract worth two million dollars pending a physical.
The strategy here is by trading Vazquez to the Yankees, the Braves will have saved roughly $9.5M in the trade to put back into the free agent area. So far the Braves have signed Troy Glaus, with another corners player on their radar. Both Xavier Nady and Mark DeRosa's names have surfaced in the past week as well. This trade could very well end up looking like Javier Vazquez and Boone Logan for Melky Cabrera, Troy Glaus, Xavier Nady/Mark DeRosa, Mike Dunn and Aroyds Vizcaino. When put that way, I like the deal. Replacing one of three staff aces from 2009 with three Major League players and two solid prospects. Still, there will have to be some further maneuvering before I pass judgment on these moves.
Melky Cabrera, OF
I have always really liked the way that Cabrera plays. He is a gritty player whose strength is defense. He has a plus arm and range. He also possesses some speed, though not game breaking. His offense has been improving, but he is never going to hit for much greater than average power. I like his chances of improving his offense even further in 2010 to numbers much like that of Matt Diaz. Something in the area of .280, 15, 75 seems likely with him batting lower in the order. Perhaps even a little bit higher with the power numbers. His power to the gaps is where it seems as though he could develop in Atlanta. At 24, he has a lot of room to grow beyond a Randy Winn type career.
Troy Glaus, 3B/1B
This was a move that I did not anticipate, but I do like the addition of Glaus particularly because he is given one year and just $2M to prove that he can still hit. If he can prove that he is healthy and still capable of being a power threat, Glaus would be a great addition to the Braves, but that is a big "if." There are few hitters I would less likely see as an opponent than Glaus when he is hot. However, when he cools down, he can be an easy strikeout victim. One great thing about Glaus is that he works walks effectively with a career OBP that is .104 points higher than his career batting average. With the sizable question mark following his name due to injuries and worries about his ability, bringing in another versatile corner player to provide insurance to both him and oft-injured Chipper Jones becomes a need. Potential candidates could be Chad Tracy or Joe Crede. Mark DeRosa also makes sense as a super utility player in the infield and outfield. With Garrett Atkins accepting a $4.5M deal with the Orioles this past week, to get a former All-Star with a World Series MVP award and leadership skills at $2M this seems like a potential steal if he can right the ship at age 33.