Monday, June 30, 2008

Should the Braves Trade Tex for Youk?

I found a wonderful blog while reading Peter Gammons on ESPN in the offseason. It is called Firebrand of the American League. It is a Red Sox blog with several authors, and Gammons says that even Red Sox brass pay attention to it & read it.

Well, I wonder what they think about this latest entry -- Should the Red Sox trade Kevin Youkilis for Mark Teixeira?

As a sports bigamist -- I am a fan of both the Red Sox AND Braves -- I am all about this trade. Since Firebrand has already addressed the Red Sox side, I'll briefly address why this makes sense for the Braves.

The Utility Value of Kevin Youkilis -- Youk can play first base, third base, and outfield. The Braves can immediately plug him in at first. Given the balky health of aging Chipper Jones, manager Bobby Cox could easily slide him over to the other corner infield position.

The OBP Value of Kevin Youkilis -- the Braves have struggled to find lead-off and #2 hitters for their lineup since the decline/departure of Marcus Giles and Rafael Furcal. Youk could hit in either of these spots and get on base for the big sticks to drive him in.

Building for the Future -- This is Glavine's last hurrah. Smoltz may be done, too. Mike Hampton can't get healthy. Chipper doesn't have much left. 2008 was going to be the year where the Braves put everything in to making one last run with many of the older pieces. Its not gonna happen. Let me be clear about that: given all the bad injury luck this season, that one last run for the Braves is not gonna happen. Take Youk. Take young ace prospect Michael Bowden. It was exciting while it lasted with Tex, but its time to look to the future.

Get it done!


Dan said...

When I read the title, I laughed a little bit, because just by reputation, Youk hasn't achieved the star status of Tex, and it seemed a little unbalanced.

Upon further consideration, however, I think this trade has a lot of merit. The Braves get to dump Tex, who is likely to bolt to Boston or New York anyway at the end of the season, plus the Braves would get a really good all-around player, a lot like Chipper in that Youk can hit for average and power. I also like the idea of moving Chipper to first to save some wear and tear, but I know Chipper won't go willingly.

I think Youk gets overshdowed by some of the more electrifying guys like ManRam and Ortiz that play for the Red Sox. I've had him on my fantasy team for two years, and he just keeps getting hits and RBI's like crazy. I'm sure a great deal of his production is due to being on the Red Sox, and he can be streaky, but I'd still love to have him on the Braves.

Plus, Tex typically doesn't get "hot" until the second half anyway, which is REALLY aggravating and a big reason that the Braves are where they are. They would be able to get more consistent production throughout the season with Youkilis. BTW, is there anyone in baseball right now that just looks more like a stereotypical tough, rugged, baseball player than Youk?

Finally, I think the Braves can make a run this year. They have struggled, but their division is weak and they are only like 4 games back. They seem to have their starting pitching in order, their closer is healthy, Tex is (finally) starting to get hot, and their outfield will be healthy soon. With a trade for some depth, they can make a run. Not saying they will or that they will get far in the playoffs, but I think they may at least contend.

III said...

I could be premature in calling the Braves out of contention for their division -- they're only 3.5 games out of first. But they're not winning anything in October without Hampton, Glavine, and Smoltz. Frenchy has been in a funk all year. At some point this month, the Braves need to decide to be sellers because this ain't their year.

Plus, I think the Mets are going to catch fire sometime soon. Their pitching is getting healthy. They're just not hitting like they should be, but I gotta believe they will eventually.

Lloyd said...

I'm only commenting to say that I didn't read this blog, nor do I think I would understand any of it if I did.

Jordan said...

If I was Atlanta, I would demand Cole Hamels as well...