The Braves traded Javier Vazquez yesterday to the Yankees. I knew he was the number one guy to be traded after Atlanta re-signed Tim Hudson, but I have to say I was hoping as a fan that they were going to work out a deal to send Derek Lowe to the Angels instead. I think Vazquez will do fine in NY this time. Last time, he was there, he was their number 1 starter, and he couldn't handle the pressure, hopefully as their 3 or 4 starter, he'll be better off. He isn't going to put up the same numbers he did a year ago, but he will still get his 12-15 wins with an E.R.A. over 4.00.
For the Braves, getting Melky will be a decent addition to the outfield. With Nate McLouth in center, Matt Diaz (or minor league phenom Heyward) in right, and Melky out in left, they will have a great defensive outfield, and they are all decent enough hitters to help the Braves weak offense. I still would have preferred to see the Braves get a power outfielder in the move because that is the number one thing they are lacking, but they're still looking good.
With the 5 man rotation set to 1. Tim Hudson 2. Jair Jurrjens 3. Tommy Hanson (could easily be 1 or 2) 4. Derek Lowe 5. Kenshin Kawakami, they have quality starters 1 through 5, and with Billy Wagner closing out games, the Braves pitching is starting to look like the staff of the nineties.
Their infield is not the best defensively, but is still filled with quality ballplayers. Chipper Jones, if he can get back to his 2008 performance and forget about last year’s injuries and struggles, should be back at his best. Age is a factor for him, but we'll see if he can beat mother time. Yunel Escobar is one of the best young shortstops in baseball, and continues to improve. Martin Prado a year ago was a big surprise. His numbers came out of nowhere, and if he can repeat them in 2010, the Braves will be alright. On December 23rd, the Braves signed Troy Glaus to a one year deal to play first. He, like Jones, had an injury plagued year in 2009, and if he can bounce back, the $2 million salary will be worth it. Of course, having a top 3 catcher in Brian McCann--who will be coming back from a down year due to problems with his eyes--to anchor the infield all make for a trip back to the playoffs.
Merry Christmas everyone. Better to say it early than never say it all. The semester is now over, and I'm just waiting on my grades. Not so sure how I did, but I guess I will know tomorrow.