Braves trade Escobar for Hello Kitty notebook and 5 packs of nacho cheese sunflower seeds

July 10, 2010 - Flushing, N.Y, United States of America - 10 July, 2010: Atlanta Braves shortstop Yunel Escobar.

I know Yunel Escobar is a maddening player, but is Alex Gonzalez and two minor leagues the only thing the Braves got in return for him? Holy smokes.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is reporting that the Braves have dealt Escobar and minor-league pitcher Jo-Jo Reyes to the Blue Jays in exchange for Gonzalez, minor-league pitcher Tim Collins and minor-league shortstop Tyler Pastornicky.

Escobar entered the All-Star break hitting just .238 with no home runs and 19 RBI, while Gonzalez is currently hitting .259 with 17 dingers and 50 RBI. Obviously Gonzalez’s numbers are better, but at only 27, Escobar still has plenty of potential left in him. He was a worthwhile risk for Toronto, especially if all he needs is a change of scenery to help turn his career around.

There’s no doubt that Escobar has been in and out of Bobby Cox’s doghouse over the years, but the Braves sold low here. He has a tremendous glove, has proven in the past that he can hit for average and he’s under team control until 2013. Why the Braves dumped him for a player in Gonzalez (who may be having a great year, but whose career numbers reek) is a little puzzling to say the least.

That said, anything can happen. Collins is tiny (5’7, 155 pounds), but has a 2.40 ERA in parts of four seasons in the minor leagues and is averaging an outstanding 15.3 K/9 over 43 innings. Pastronicky projects to be a leadoff hitter, although not that the Braves have a need for one right now with Martin Prado developing into an All-Star.

There’s also no guarantee that this is a fluke year for Escobar. He may be as bad as he’s shown and in that case, it was better that the Braves got something for him. I don’t retract what I wrote earlier about them selling low, but nobody can predict how a deal will turn out in the end. (Plus, history has shown that once I try and get cute with a title like the one in this post, I get usually get burned. So torch me, Alex Gonzalez – I’m ready.)

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