Thursday, December 10, 2009

Rafael Soriano for Jesse Chavez: Braves Drop ex-Closer for...Who?

I learned of the news today in my fourth period AP US History Class.

And when I saw it, I scratched my head a bit.

"So, the Braves just traded what likely would've been the second-hottest closer commodity for...Jesse Chavez?"

I'm sure many of you shared the same sentiment.

So, I did what comes natural.

I googled Jesse Chavez.

This is what I saw: 26 years old, only one sub-three ERA year in the minors (2.22 in eleven appearances a couple of years back), and lots of home runs.

"What's this crap?!?!"

I was a bit perplexed, so I sat back and thought.

"Elite--for ehh...experience--for not so much...expensive...EXPENSIVE...THAT'S IT!"

It was then that I began to put all of the pieces together that had fallen down in the past few hours following Rafael Soriano accepting the Braves' arbitration offer.

Every team that was interested in trading for Soriano knew that the Braves were desperately (no matter what they said) trying to become sans-Soriano.

Every team also knew that they didn't want to be pegged with all of his eventual salary PLUS loose a couple of descent pieces.

So, a day passed, and most team were probably saying things like "Frankie, we'll give you good Prospect A as long as you eat half of the salary the arbitrator hands it out," or "Wren, we'll give you Bat B if you eat half of Soriano's salary AND throw in one of your bench players or MiLB pitchers."

Then the Rays probably came along and said "Hey, here's a guy to give you some depth where you're losing it...and we'll take on his entire post-arbitration salary."

When you weigh the options, the option the Rays offered really isn't half bad.

While it's not likely as good as what the Braves' scouting team could have turned the two picks Raffy would've netted into, it's better than A) eating a pretty big chunk salary for someone else, or B) non-tendering Soriano and getting jack-squat.

While this certainly isn't a blockbuster by any stretch of the imagination, at some point, you have to acknowledge that there would be no David Wright's coming in, and that the Braves really don't have the financial flexibility to keep all of the guys they have AND add a couple of other pieces.

This move, despite the small return, gives the Braves the ability to go get two descent-to-above-average players to man left and first base.

For that, I like it.

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