With only 3 days before the MLB non-waiver trade deadline, the rumor mills are a-churning. And while we've been inundated with the details of the negotiations between the Blue Jays and Phillies over the fate of Roy Halladay, the Braves on the other hand haven't been a topic of trade deadline discussion since some bizarre rumors that Javier Vazquez was being shopped fizzled out a couple of weeks ago.
... until today.
A rumor surfaced Tuesday afternoon that Atlanta was in talks with the Oakland Atheltics regarding a potential Kelly Johnson-for-Michael Wuertz swap.
I bet I know where the front office is coming from: they think that, between Martin Prado, Yunel Escobar, and Kelly Johnson, they have a surplus of middle infielders.
But what they may be mistaking as a surplus is in actuality a misallocation of resources.
Kelly Johnson would be an offensive upgrade over Casey Kotchman at first base. Kelly Johnson would be an offensive and defensive upgrade over Garret Anderson in left field. And while Martin Prado has been stellar over the past year, he's hardly a known quantity at this point. I don't think I could say with any certainty that Kelly Johnson won't have a better career than Martin Prado (for what it's worth, Baseball Prospectus' PECOTA lists KJ's second closest comparable player as Chase Utley).
The preceding claims are only true, of course, if you believe the entirety of the 2007 and 2008 season to be more representative of Johnson's true skill level (as I do) versus the injury-riddled 2009 version of Johnson.
But this doesn't even begin to consider the fact that the Braves probably don't need the bullpen help in the first place. True, there's something of a drop-off after Rafael Soriano and Mike Gonzalez, but Peter Moylan has been fine, Eric O'Flaherty has been a solid LOOGY option, and Kris Medlen is stepping up nicely. And, oh yeah, some dude named Tim Hudson is currently rehabbing in Single A.
Hopefully, Frank Wren will realize what a talent he has in Kelly Johnson (relative to those who are stealing playing time from him) and this will all have been a bunch of griping over nothing on my part.