The Braves have traded shortstop Yunel Escobar and minor-league pitcher Jo-Jo Reyes to the Toronto Blue Jays in a five-player deal that nets shortstop Alex Gonzalez.
Gonzalez, 33, is in the midst of one of his finest offensive seasons.
The Braves also got left-handed minor-league pitcher Tim Collins and minor-league shortstop Tyler Pastornicky.
Gonzalez entered the All-Star break with a .259 batting average, 17 home runs, 25 doubles and 50 RBI. Gonzalez currently ranks tied for fifth in the American League with 43 extra-base hits.
“This trade improves our club for the second half of the season,” general manager Frank Wren said. “We have been looking at ways to strengthen our club offensively and Alex Gonzalez is a proven veteran player who gives us added power. He is a winner and a solid offensive presence in the lineup as well as a quality defensive shortstop.”
Gonzalez began his career with Florida in 1998 and was a National League All-Star in 1999. He was part of the Marlins’ World Series Championship team in 2003. In addition to the Blue Jays, he has also played for Boston (2006 and 2009) and Cincinnati (2007-2009). He missed the entire 2008 season due to a compression fracture in his left knee.
In 1,314 career games over his 12-year major league career, Gonzalez has collected 1,172 hits with 131 home runs and 571 RBIs. He is signed through the 2010 season, with a Club option for 2011.
Collins, 20, has appeared in 35 games for Double-A New Hampshire this season, with a 2.51 ERA, a .174 opponents’ batting average and 73 strikeouts with just 16 walks in 43.0 innings pitched.
Pastornicky, 20, has batted .258 with six home runs, 35 RBIs at 24 stolen bases in 77 games for Class-A Dunedin this season. He was the Blue Jays’ fifth-round selection in the 2008 Draft.
Escobar, 27, batted .238 with no home runs and 19 RBIs in 75 games for the Braves this season. Reyes, 25, appeared in one game for the Braves in 2010 and owns a 5-15 career record with a 6.40 ERA in 41 games (37 starts).
Reyes appeared in just one game for the Braves this season. He worked 3 1/3 innings, allowing nine earned runs (24.30 ERA), in an April game against San Diego. He was placed on the disabled list with a knee injury. He was sent to Triple-A Gwinnett, where he was 1-5 with a 5.70 ERA in 47.1 innings. The Blue Jays sent him to Double-A after acquiring him today.