The Atlanta Braves have traded SS Yunel Escobar and P Jo-Jo Reyes to the Toronto Blue Jays for SS Alex Gonzalez, P Tim Collins and SS Tyler Pastornicky
Alex Gonzalez offers more power potential to Escobar, though you have to wonder if he is in for a second half regression. He’s already hit 17 HR, third most of his career (his career high is 23 set in 2004). His power has been equal both at home (8) and on the road (9), so the ballpark isn’t cause for concern.
It’s the HR/FB (12.9%) and fly ball rate (49.8 %), which are worrisome. The HR/FB is a career high since 2002. The FB% is only the second time he’s been above 48% over the same span. If both the fly balls and HR/FB fall, his power could plummet.
Gonzalez saw significant time in the second spot for the Blue Jays (106 AB), something that’s not likely in Atlanta. More likely he’ll be hitting sixth or seventh, with the pitcher and Melky Cabrera hitting behind him. That’s going to impact his runs scored potential, so keep that in mind.
He’s a career .248 hitter, so no one is buying him for his average.
The bottom line is that the skepticism is more a general regression as opposed to the trade. He’s not a player I’d be looking to buy.
The other two players they acquired are not going to make a fantasy impact in 2011.
The Blue Jays
Like Gonzalez, the optimism for Escobar has more to do with the numbers then the deal itself, though joining a higher-powered offense certainly doesn’t hurt. While he doesn’t have much power or speed, he’s no .238 hitter. His BABIP of .270 is significantly below his career mark of .316, so look for him to rebound there.
As I said earlier he doesn’t have much power, but he’s got some. Without a home run yet, you’d expect him to hit a few. Joining an offense that has sent the ball flying all year long, you can bet that he’s going to hit at least a few from this point forward.
He walks plenty, so as the average improves and joining a deeper offense, the runs should follow. He also should pick up more RBI, meaning overall, he appears a great buy low candidate.
As for Reyes, he’s likely no more then a relief pitcher for the Blue Jays given their rotation depth.
I have Escobar as being the big winner from a fantasy perspective, though he was a solid buy low candidate regardless. What about you? Who do you think the winner of the deal is?
To read the previous article, click here.