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Friday December 9, 2005 6:43 pm
Braves Farm System Keeps Them Winning
Catcher Johnny Estrada was dealt to the Arizona D-backs for two young right-handed relievers, Lance Cormier and Oscar Villarreal. Braves Manager Bobby Cox and GM John Schuerholz has kept the Braves dynasty running for longer than most people in the media and analysts have predicted. Estrada became expendable after farmhand Brian McCann played well down the stretch in place of Estrada after a head injury back in June.
This deal will undoubtedly go under the radar compared to the other big moves so far this off-season, like the Marlins fire-sale, the Roger Clemens watch, and the Manny Ramirez trade talks. What I find interesting about this deal is that the Braves are getting less talent back in this particular deal, but they are not coming out losers.
Estrada was acquired by the Braves two years ago from the Phillies, after the Braves needed to shed some salary at the time when Millwood was about to become salary arbitration eligible. Schuerholz was noticeably upset and was quoted by Baseball Tonight’s Karl Ravech saying: “The economics in baseball stink. The economics stink, and if this isn’t a clear enough signal to the doubters and naysayers, to be forced to trade an 18-game winner to your arch enemy ... The economics stink.”
Looking back on the deal, Estrada became an All-star in 2004, so the trade didn’t end up biting the Braves as they continued to win another division crown last year. Saving money from Millwood, allowed the Braves financial flexibility to go after ace pitcher Tim Hudson from the Oakland A’s last year. I wouldn’t be surprised if these former Arizona pitchers don’t end up being quality pitchers for the Atlanta staff.
The Braves keep bringing up players from their farm system that produce, OF Jeff Francoeur, OF Ryan Langerhans, 1B Adam LaRoche, as did their holdovers from the previous division winners Chipper Jones, Andru Jones and Marcus Giles. Let’s see if the Braves can pull out another division crown, after losing SS Rafael Furcal and reliever Kyle Farnsworth. Looking at their track record, I would be surprised.
Braves have just acquired SS Edgar Renteria from the Red Sox for their top prospect 3B Andy Marte. Renteria last year signed a 4 year, 40 million pact. They actually saved 9 million in acquiring Renteria rather than re-signing Furcal, compared to Furcal’s 3 year, 39 million package. Another prime example of the farm system enabling the Braves some flexibility in the market.
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