The sweeping changes GM Kenny Williams promised this off-season continue as it appears his biggest bargaining chip is now on his way to the Atlanta Braves.Â Pending physicals, starting pitcher Javier Vazquez and lefty Boone Logan are going to the Braves in exchange for four of their top prospects.
Vazquez lost the confidence of Ozzie Guillen at the end of last season. He is one of the better strikeout pitchers in the game, but posted a less-than-spectacular 4.67 ERA and a 12-16 record for the White Sox.Â After his complete meltdown in game one of the 2008 ALDS, he was booed loudly when introduced at the Cell before game three.Â Iâ€™m sure few Sox fans will cry over this deal.
Still, as it becomes more obvious that the Sox were completely robbed on the Nick Swisher trade, I stated in October the Sox would be foolish not to get some bounty in return for Javy.Â The bottom line is- heâ€™s owed $23 million over two seasons.Â $11.5 million for a starting pitcher who has a career ERA of 4.23, has topped 200 innings pitched every year but one since 2000 (in 2004 he had 198 IP for the Yankees), and averages almost 8 Ks per nine innings pitched is a bargain.
Boone Logan posted a 5.95 ERA in 55 appearances in 2008.Â He was another pitcher who failed miserably during September.Â He posted an 18.00 ERA and allowed opponents a .583 on-base percentage during that month. Kenny Williams likely played up Loganâ€™s upside including his 1.95 ERA over the first month and a half of 2008.
While the trade will become official after physicals are completed, it appears as though Williams MIGHT have gotten this one right, in addition to freeing millions of dollars in payroll.
The Sox could get as many as four of the Braves top prospects back in the trade.Â Evidently, the Braves have submitted a list of five prospects in which the White Sox can select four.Â Here are the players rumored to be coming in return.
Lillibridge is ranked by Baseball America as the best prospect in Atlanta’s system, despite his horrible season at Triple A (.220 with a .294 on-base percentage).Â He brings above average speed to the table and some power potential.Â At age 25, it is his time to take the next step.
Tyler Flowers (catcher)
This is the player to watch closely in the trade.Â I’ve followed him for two years.Â Heâ€™s hitting .387 with 12 homers in Arizona Fall League.
At Class A Myrtle Beach this past season, Flowers hit .288 with 17 homers and a .498 slugging percentage. Most scouts believe that Flowers could blossom at first base or designated hitter.Â He’s a stud prospect.
Jon Gilmore (third base)
A raw prospect, Gilmore is ranked along with Flowers as one of the top power hitting prospects in the Braves organization, but is likely 2-3 years away from the majors.Â Taken directly out of high school in June 2007 with the 33rd overall selection, the highest slot ever for an Iowa high school player, he was highly touted as the heir to Chipper Jones at the hot corner.
Santos Rodriguez (LHP)
Named a Baseball America All-star in 2008.Â Posted a 1-2 record, with a 2.79 ERA for the Braves Rookie League.Â Struck out 45 hitters in 29 innings, holding opponents to a .155 BA.
This is the type of return we SHOULD have seen for Nick Swisher.
Going into the 2009 season, the Sox starting rotation is projected as the following:
Aaron Poreda\Lance Broadway
If you think the Sox are done making moves, think again.Â Williams is still actively shopping Jermaine Dye; whose value will no doubt increase to teams in need of a power hitter.
I said not to judge the Nick Swisher trade until we observe possible free agent signings that result from it.Â Thus far, here is my off-season report card for the White Sox:
Nick Swisher trade: F
Cutting salary just isnâ€™t enough and without a doubt Williams sold low on Swisher by also giving up the best relief prospect in our system in the process for two mid-range prospects at best.Â He can raise his grade to passing by doing something with the savings.
Javier Vasquez trade: A (pending final names involved)
A pitcher who had to be traded and a lefty who did not fit into the Sox plans yields two of the top 20 prospects overall in the Braves system and two of their best low level minor league prospects.
No risk with a high upside.
Estimated salary saved by trading Vasquez and Swisher and letting Cabrera, Crede, Hall and Uribe walk:Â $35.2 Million (Betemit added $1.165 Million)!!!
This will be offset somewhat by raises due to other players in 2009, but significant payroll has been trimmed.Â The question now remains, what will be done with it?
Stay tuned until the next exciting â€œwebisode,â€ same Sox time, same sox site.
Leave a Reply