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Hogan11 01-19-2007 07:25 AM

LaRoche/Gonzalez deal
 
PITTSBURGH -- After more than a month of speculation, the Pirates and Braves agreed in principle on Wednesday to a four-player trade that would send closer Mike Gonzalez to Atlanta for first baseman Adam LaRoche, according to a source familiar with the negotiations.
In addition to LaRoche, the Pirates will receive Minor League outfielder Jamie Romak, with shortstop prospect Brent Lillibridge heading to Atlanta to complete the deal.

Good deal for the Bucs, although I really cringe at losing a prospect like Lillibridge. Romak's stats aren't too shabby though. It give the Bucs the young left handed power hitter they were looking for (should fit nicely in the lineup with Freddie Sanchez & Jason Bay) while the loss of Gonzo can be made up for with Torres or Capps.

Slap, I'd be very interested in your take on this deal......whatcha think?

-Slap- 01-19-2007 05:25 PM

Bronco LB 52 will be able to give you a more informed opinion on the minor leaguers involved, but the deal seems to be one that could help both teams.

La Roche had a monster second half and his presence in the lineup will help Bay a lot.

Gonzalez is a nice pickup for the Bravos, who haven't had a decent closer option since Smoltz returned to the rotation.

I guess a lot of it depends on Saloman Torres. He was great for Pittsburgh down the stretch last year and apparently they view him as a viable short term closer option this year. If he can handle the job, it will work out to be a good deal for the Pirates. If Torres falters, its going to cost those young starters some wins.

Hogan11 01-20-2007 08:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by -Slap- (Post 1449791)
Bronco LB 52 will be able to give you a more informed opinion on the minor leaguers involved, but the deal seems to be one that could help both teams.

La Roche had a monster second half and his presence in the lineup will help Bay a lot.

Gonzalez is a nice pickup for the Bravos, who haven't had a decent closer option since Smoltz returned to the rotation.

I guess a lot of it depends on Saloman Torres. He was great for Pittsburgh down the stretch last year and apparently they view him as a viable short term closer option this year. If he can handle the job, it will work out to be a good deal for the Pirates. If Torres falters, its going to cost those young starters some wins.

Lillibridge is one hell of a prospect @ SS.....I do not know much about Romak but his stats appear to be decent.

As for Torres, durability is a question but if he can't hold up then Matt Capps can more than step in (actually I see a bit of a battle for that closers role there).

I'm shocked that the front office actually pulled off a move that makes sense. I was willing to bet the house that they were going to waste what little cash they have on B list FA's for a half year rental yet again. Maybe there was something to swapping Littlefield's & Nutting's titles around afterall. The move has got me looking more forward to ST than usual, hope abounds...for a Pirates fan, that's no mean feat. Ha!

WABronco 01-21-2007 12:21 AM

Apparently, BP thinks very highly of Lillibridge, and many of the prospect-guys I read seem to think that way as well. Basically, the Braves gave up a replaceable, slightly above average player for a top-shelf reliever and a great 'spect at a position of need.

LaRoche makes sense for Pittsburgh, but to me it looks like Mr. JS wins another one for Atlanta...making two in this offseason (one huge, bend-over-and-take-it-Bill Bavasi trade with Seattle, earlier).

Hogan11 01-21-2007 11:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by WABronco (Post 1453302)
Apparently, BP thinks very highly of Lillibridge, and many of the prospect-guys I read seem to think that way as well. Basically, the Braves gave up a replaceable, slightly above average player for a top-shelf reliever and a great 'spect at a position of need.

LaRoche makes sense for Pittsburgh, but to me it looks like Mr. JS wins another one for Atlanta...making two in this offseason (one huge, bend-over-and-take-it-Bill Bavasi trade with Seattle, earlier).

Well, I certainly would question the "top-shelf" reliever bit after the close of last season....but it does seem to be to the benefit of both teams here.

I just happy The Pirates didn't include one of the young starters to close the deal...that alone, makes it a victory for Bucco fans everywhere.

Bronco LB 59 01-21-2007 02:05 PM

Here is an exerpt from Chris Kline of Baseball America about Lillibridge:

"No matter how impressive his 2006 numbers were, Lillibridge's year was also somewhat historic, as he was the only player in the minors to hit over .300, post over a .400 on-base percentage, hit over 10 home runs (13), drive in over 50 runs (71) and steal over 50 bases (53)."

As you can see, he does a lot of things well for a shortstop offensively. Lillibridge was rated as the #3 prospect in the Pirates organization by John Sickels who writes an annual book about prospects. Keep in mind, there are also skeptics who wonder if he'll stay at shortstop since he began his collegiate career as a CF with the Washington Huskies and he committed 30 plus errors last season. The anonymous scout in the Baseball America article said Lillibridge was a "poor man's Brian Roberts" which is an indication he probably has a limited ceiling.

Bronco LB 59 01-21-2007 02:48 PM

Romak is a big kid at 6-2, 200. The London, Ontario native has some pop and does a solid job of working the count. He probably was within the 20-25 range of the Braves top prospects. He batted only .247 at low-A Rome, but he's only 21 so there's still plenty of time for him to improve.

Pittsburgh GM David Littlefield said Triple-A SS Brian Bixler (ranked as the Pirates #5 prospect by Sickels) played a role in dealing Lillibridge. Bixler batted .302 last season in two minor league stops, but as you can see here, he's nowhere near the offensive player Lillibridge was. He looks more like a career utility guy.

http://www.baseballamerica.com/today....php?id=444448

Bronco LB 59 01-21-2007 02:55 PM

When I first heard about the trade, the minor leaguers names weren't mentioned and I felt the Pirates got better end of deal. I would rather have an everyday player coming off a 32 HR season than a reliever who hasn't thrown more than 54 innings in season.

For now, I give the Pirates the edge based on the big leaguers swapped, but Lillibridge can swing the deal in the Braves favor.

Bronco LB 59 01-21-2007 03:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hogan11 (Post 1453516)
Well, I certainly would question the "top-shelf" reliever bit after the close of last season....but it does seem to be to the benefit of both teams here.

I just happy The Pirates didn't include one of the young starters to close the deal...that alone, makes it a victory for Bucco fans everywhere.

You're right. Gonzalez has wicked stuff, but his wildness is the downside.

In addition to the Pirates young starters, Andrew McCutchen staying in Pirates hands is a reason to celebrate as well.

bendog 01-25-2007 01:02 PM

Remember LaRoche is the guy diagosed with ADHD. I saw him in AA and he wasnt' that impressive (compared to McCann and Francouer), but he had a monster month after MLB ok'd him for some banned substance to treat his disorder.

I wonder who that'll put at 1b for the braves? Move Chipper over to try and keep him healthy? Or their top prospect is a catcher. Save McCann's knees? He may be the better of their two young power hitters.

Bronco LB 59 01-25-2007 02:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bendog (Post 1459373)
I wonder who that'll put at 1b for the braves? Move Chipper over to try and keep him healthy? Or their top prospect is a catcher. Save McCann's knees? He may be the better of their two young power hitters.

McCann and Chipper will remain where they are for now.

The Braves will enter Spring Training with a 1B platoon of newly acquired Craig Wilson from Pittsburgh and lefty Scott Thorman, who batted .298 with 15 home runs and 48 RBI in 309 plate appearances at Triple-A Richmond last year. Thorman didn't fare as well in his callup with Atlanta, hitting .234 with five home runs and a 701 OPS in 128 at-bats.


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