Thursday, December 08, 2005

Renteria to Braves; Marte to Red Sox

The question of "Theo who?" continues to be asked in Red Sox Nation as the Phantom GM trades Edgar Renteria to the Braves for super prospect Andy Marte. Here are my observations on this trade:

1. I think this is a trade that really helps both teams. The Braves lost Rafael Furcal to the Dodgers and now the Braves get a veteran shortstop to fill that void. Plus if Ken Rosenthal and Ronald Blum are to be believed - the Red Sox kicked in up to $11 million in this deal which means the Braves will be paying Renteria less than half of what Furcal will be making with the Dodgers over the next three years. With the Sox money - Renteria will cost the Braves about $6 million per year while Furcal is on the Dodger books for $13 million per season. In exchange the Red Sox get a prospect rated higher than Hanley Ramirez.

2. Let me take this opportunity to point out that Edgar Renteria is better than he showed this year. Playing for the Red Sox comes with a pressure that is hard to adjust to for some players and Edgar was one of those players. His big contract came with big expectations and Edgar may have been pressing too much in Boston. Its similar to an ace pitcher going to the Yankees. Look at Randy Johnson this year. Hell Roger Clemens was just 14-10 in his first year with the Pinstripes. Reneria will thrive in Atlanta (I'd be willing to say that he'll out produce Furcal over the next three years).

3. Now is when we wait for the next shoe to drop. There are two teams out there who need a productive, low-cost 3rd baseman and now with super prospect Andy Marte in the fold - Kevin Youkilis becomes available to trade to either the Twins or the Phillies. If Johnny Damon re-signs with the Sox then I would look for the Sox to offer a package of Youkilis, Trot Nixon and Matt Clement for Bobby Abreu and a prospect. If Damon signs elsewhere - something I doubt will happen especially now that the Sox have a significant part of Renteria's contract off the books - I would look for the Sox to offer Youkilis and Bronson Arroyo to the Twins for Torii Hunter. (I think Bill Mueller would be a good option at 3rd for the Twins but his knees on the fake grass would have to be a concern plus I think Mueller signs with the Dodgers because they need a 3rd baseman and Ned Colletti knows Mueller form his days in San Fran.) Of course the Red Sox could also keep Youkilis and Marte (with Youkilis at 1st and Marte at Pawtucket as protection against Mike Lowell falling apart). Do the Sox trade for a veteran shortstop? Or do they go with Pedroia / Cora at short? Waiting for the other shoe to drop can suck because I'm part of fast food nation as well as Red Sox Nation.

4. How do you properly value a prospect? Marte is rated higher than Hanley Ramirez and he was rated the top prospect in the Braves farm system. Yet those familiar with the Red Sox system would argue that Hanley Ramirez may have been the 3rd or 4th best prospect (behind Dustin Pedroia, Craig Hansen and Jon Papelbon). Who is to say that Marte truly was the Brave's best prospect? Some people have compared Marte to David Wright but by the same token Sean Burroughs was once the top prospect in baseball. How do you properly value a prospect? Let me say that I like the fact that Marte is an uppercut swinger because balls lofted at Fenway tend to wind up as doubles off the Monster. I also like that he's a Dominican (maybe Manny stays so he can mentor this youngster?).

5. Let the "Red Sox to re-sign Nomar" talk begin! I'm of two minds regarding reacquiring Nomar. Yes I think his bat and his familiarity with Fenway would pay big dividends. He could play short, third (if Lowell falters) or left (if Manny is traded). The other (more practical) part of my brain says its time to move on. Nomar had a great run in Boston but its time to move on. Let Dustin Pedroia play short backed up by the sure handed Alex Cora. The Red Sox can easily bury a player like Pedroia in the 9th hole without hurting the offense (and his defense has to be better than Renteria's 30 errors last year).

6. Dueling reports. Peter Gammons is reporting that the Red Sox plan to "flip" Marte in another trade while Ken Rosenthal and Gordon Edes report that the Sox will be keeping Marte. FWIW - I think Rosenthal and Edes are right much more often than "throw it against the wall" Gammons.

7. Put me in the camp that would much prefer to hold on to Marte and put Pedroia / Cora at short this year instead of signing Alex Gonzalez. Please do not sign Alex Gonzalez!

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