Atlanta Braves Trade for Edgar Renteria, Reshuffle Lineup
The Atlanta Braves, which have become a small market team salarywise despite living in a major market and being owned by Time Warner, has made several moves over the last few hours. Combined with some non-moves they have made this offseason, the opening day roster will once again be quite different from the one that finished the previous season.
The big news: Braves acquire SS Renteria
The Atlanta Braves have negotiated a trade to bring Boston Red Sox shortstop Edgar Renteria to Atlanta for top prospect Andy Marte. The Braves will also receive money from the Red Sox to help cover the $29 million Renteria is owed over the final three years on his contract.
Renteria, a four-time All-Star, owns a .288 career average, with 91 home runs, 635 RBIs and a .345 on-base percentage in 10 seasons with Florida, St. Louis and Boston. He’s averaged 11 homers, 35 doubles and 74 RBIs over the past seven seasons. However, he was a disappointment in his only season with the Red Sox, leading the majors in errors with 30. Renteria, 30, won Gold Gloves in 2002 and 2003 for St. Louis where he spent six seasons and picked up three Silver Slugger Awards as the top hitting shortstop in the National League. He has batted second for most of his career and has only 247 at bats in the leadoff position.
Marte is rated as the top prospect in the Braves organization. The 22-year-old slugger hit .275 with 20 homers and 75 RBIs at Class AAA Richmond last season and struggled in his brief time in the majors. He hit .140 with no homers in 57 at-bats for the Braves.
This, combined with losing home-grown star Rafael Furcal to the free-spending-but-mediocre L.A. Dodgers, is the biggest change in the lineup. Furcal was a solid leadoff man, a decent hitter, and an excellent defensive shortstop. In order to save money, they’ve now lost Furcal and their top prospect and added a no-glove guy to the middle of their infield.
Dan Kolb, a high priced acquisition who was acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers last offseason to allow John Smoltz to move from being a dominant closer to an injury riddled starter, has now been traded back to the Brewers for a sack of magic beans. Actually, “mediocre right-hander Wes Obermueller” who, at 28, is at the peak of his career and who was “1-4 with a 5.26 ERA in 23 games (eight starts) last season for the Brewers.” The guy who finished the season as the closer, Kyle Farnsworth, signed with the Yankees to be their setup man, taking a career demotion for a bigger paycheck.
Meanwhile, catcher Johnny Estrada, acquired three years ago in a trade for
superstar pitcher Kevin Milwood, has been traded “to Arizona for right-handed relievers Lance Cormier and Oscar Villarreal, both young, neither distinguished.”
The Braves are apparently about to lose 47-year-old wonder Julio Franco even though they offered arbitration to past-their-prime retreads Eddie Perez and Brian Jordan.
Regardless, the Braves will almost certainly manage to win their 15th straight division title and then lose again in the first round of the playoffs. The Florida Marlins are having a fire sale, the Philadelphia Phillies let their window close, the Washington Nationals have lost several of their best players as they wait for their ownership and stadium situation to get decided, and the New York Mets continue to spend too much money on the wrong players.
Still, unless there are some real surprises in their starting pitching rotations and bullpens, the Braves just don’t have enough guns to win a playoff series.