Trade Central

The start of the trading season seemed as good a time as any to get the blog engine up and revving again. We’ve had two deals recently that involved some pretty good names from the Minor League side of things, and this is the place to come for the breakdown of deals from the prospect perspective. Today, I’m going to handle the Edgar Renteria trade. Tomorrow (Friday), Lisa will chime in with her thoughts on the Brad Lidge deal.

I guess I should call it the Gorkys Hernandez/Jair Jurrjens trade. I do think that this one will be a win-win for both teams, assuming Renteria produces well for the Tigers in the bigs. But the Braves got two legitimate prospects out of the deal, one for the right now and one for a little down the road.

Jurrjens could be ready to step right into the Braves rotation in April. At the least, he’ll go to Triple-A Richmond and be ready to get the call at any moment. He’s gotten dinged up some in the past and there is a little concern about durability. But that always comes with guys who are "under-sized." Sometimes it’s valid; sometimes it’s not. We’ll have to wait and see with Jurrjens, who’ll pitch at age 22 in 2008. He’s improved in leaps and bounds since signing out of Curacao (signed by new Pirates scouting director Greg Smith, by the way) and there’s really no telling what his ceiling might be. At the very least, he’s a solid member of a rotation. High-end, though, he could come closer to sitting at the front of a rotation once he fully realizes his potential.

As good as Jurrjens might be, Hernandez might end up being the bigger prize. Playing at age 19 in the Midwest League, Gorkys swiped 54 bases, went to the Futures Game and took home the league’s MVP honors as his West Michigan club went on to win its second straight Midwest League title. The amazing thing is he’s just getting started. He’ll grow into his body more and some power will come with it. He’s never going to be a huge HR guy, but he could develop into a mighty fine ledaoff hitter with gap power who can hit it out from time to time. The Tigers had Granderson and Maybin, so Gorkys was an extra part. The Braves don’t have a CF in the bigs right now, but it should be a whole lot of fun to watch Gorkys and Jordan Schafer develop and see which one pushes which to a corner or another team.

The one other thing the Renteria deal does is a kind of addition by subtraction thing. With Renteria gone, it’s assumed Yunel Escobar will become the every-day shortstop. Brent Lillibridge is also ready to contribute and could step in at short if Escobar can’t get it done. He also could be a utility guy and can even play some center field, a position he handled well in college a few years back.

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