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Braves Land Vazquez From White Sox UPDATE

Just wanted to update with the actual, confirmed prospects that the White Sox received in return for Javier Vazquez. Brent Lillibridge and Tyler Flores were, in fact, the two main prospects involved, but Chicago got two other prospects as well: Jon Gilmore and Santos Rodriguez. MLB.com's Mark Bowman confirmed the names in this blog post.

Gilmore is a 20-year-old third baseman and Rodriguez is a 20-year-old lefthanded pitcher. I don't know anything about Gilmore, but I have heard that Rodriguez has gathered some buzz with his size and velocity. He's 6-foot-5 and doesn't pitch to contact which, combined with above average velocity and his youth, combine to show flashes of just what he could accomplish with the White Sox. Power reliever anyone?

OK, we now return you to your previously scheduled Baseball Insider content. Enjoy.

The Braves entered the offseason perfectly straightforward about their need to acquire another starting pitcher. Well, they got one.

In a trade that has yet to be formally announced, the White Sox are prepared to send Javier Vazquez to the Braves from three prospects: young starter (thanks jca ... wrote this the first time when pitcher Jo-Jo Reyes was being mentioned as a part of the deal, since then he's been pulled back out of it and I missed the "pitcher" I had before his name) infielder Brent Lillibridge and another starting pitching prospect as well as a positional prospect to be named. There is talk that the positional prospect may be Atlanta's highly regarded catcher prospect Tyler Flowers who, somewhat ironically, is playing for the Mesa Solar Sox in the Arizona Fall League right now. At least that'll get him comfortable with the name on the jerseys. Chicago will send lefty pitcher Boone Logan to Atlanta, as well, to help even out the deal.

FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal was the first to announce the trade was close this afternoon, with ESPN's Peter Gammons getting in on the action shortly thereafter. Gammons is reporting that Vazquez is flying to Atlanta tonight for a physical, which would complete the deal as early as tomorrow.

It's an interesting trade for a variety of reasons, which I'll explain after the jump ...

Hey! Thanks for coming along for the jump! Sorry, always wanted to do that. Now, here's why this trade really is significant, for both teams.

1) It accomplishes one of Chicago's main winter goals, which was to offload the salary of either Vazquez or Jose Contreras. There will be less pressure to push Contreras out of the door with Vazquez gone, though that certainly won't stop White Sox GM Kenny Williams from trying.

2) It adds one of the two starting pitchers Atlanta wanted to get in the offseason. The Braves openly coveted Jake Peavy and were the first team in hot and heavy in trade talks with San Diego. Those cooled, they said they moved on and, well, it turns out they have.

3) There were rumors that the Braves were still lingering around the Peavy talks, waiting for the Cubs' bid to collapse, when they would swoop in with a package of pitchers Jo-Jo Reyes, Lillibridge and a couple other prospects to try and snatch Peavy. With Lillibridge gone, and likely one of their top fielding prospects, that looks to be just about impossible now. If the Cubs do eventually land Peavy, Cubs GM Jim Hendry may owe Williams a dinner. Maybe they can meet somewhere downtown. Hear there's some solid steakhouses thereabout (something tells me Williams won't go for a meal at Harry Caray's, and Hendry isn't going anywhere near the Billy Goat Tavern).

4) It creates massive payroll flexibility for the White Sox. Chicago already dumped a significant amount of cash earlier this offseason, and they're in trade talks with the Reds about Jermaine Dye, which would free up more cash and help Williams rid himself of one of the three big salaries in the middle of the team's order (Dye, Jim Thome and Paul Konerko). Not that Thome and Konerko are necessarily safe, but dropping Dye would Dye would take some of the heat off.

What are the White Sox going to do with all the savings from payroll? Your guess is as good as mine, though I've been skeptical that they're doing anything but saving money while trying to get younger from the beginning.

Just as significantly, is this a good trade for the Braves? Is Vazquez likely to mount a decent return for what the Braves will be paying him? And what they gave up to get him?

By Cameron Smith  |  December 2, 2008; 7:20 PM ET
Categories:  Braves , White Sox  
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Comments

Cameron - I'm a little confused about the prose here. It reads like Brent Lillibridge is a pitcher rather than a left side of the infield prospect.

Also, is Reyes in the deal? That'd be the pitcher.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | December 2, 2008 9:21 PM | Report abuse

JCA, here's what I posted over on NJ:

So the Braves acquired former Expo Javier Vazquez from the ChiSox in exchange for Brent Lillibridge, Tyler Flowers, Jon Gilmore and Santos Rodriguez.

Vazquez, 32, went 12-16 last year with a 4.67 ERA. His career numbers are 127-129, 4.32. Basically an average middle to back of the rotation starter.

Lillibridge is a 25 year-old SS who was ranked as the Braves' #6 prospect by BA. He struggled to hit in the majors this year but still has potential as a middle infielder. Flowers is a 23 year-old C/1b who ranked #12 in the Braves system and led the AFL in hitting this year (.387, with 12 homers in just 75 ABs). And Gilmore is a 20 year-old 3b ranked #13 by BA, who has "shown the tools to be an old-school power-hitting third baseman." Rodriguez, 20, is not ranked by BA and is still playing rookie ball, but he struck out 45 in 29 innings this year while allowing 16 hits, 13 walks and zero homers.

Quite a haul for the ChiSox, in my view. And it makes our trade for Olsen and Willingham look like highway robbery.


Posted by: BobLHead | December 3, 2008 11:12 AM

Posted by: BobLHead | December 3, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

For some reason, I can't get a sign on button for NJ today on my webpage, but while we are talking about possible contracts and extensions for Markakis and Zimmerman, note that Amalie Benjamin (why can't we get interns like that?) is reporting "Little Dusty" has agreed to a $40.5 million extension through 2014, with an option for 2015. He's one year behind Nick and FotF in terms of length of service, and has won one more MVP and ROY than they have ;-) That works out to 1 year prearb (09), 3 years of arbitration (10 - 12), and two years of free agency. Essentially, a Tulo contract with an extra year bought out.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | December 3, 2008 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Agreed, JCATBNL, I said much the same over on NJ -- a very reasonable deal for the sparkplug MVP, and one that helps pull down the market for Zimmerman (unlike the proposed Markakis numbers).

Posted by: BobLHead | December 3, 2008 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Cameron - I figured it was a rush typo. Reyes name was mentioned in soome reports.

This makes the 1 year arb offer to O-Cab a bit sensible. Lillibridge gets a year to see if he can win the slot. O-Cab can be traded mid-year if the ChiSox don't contend or if Lillibridge pushes him. I suppose if O-Cab is signed by another team, and ChiSox get compensation picks, then they could try to resign Uribe or go for Hudson and move Ramirez to SS.

I still wonder what Detroit and LAD will do to backfill at SS. Hu won't do.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | December 3, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

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