Yunel Escobar (.471) like a new player — should Braves care?

Yunel Escobar's grand slam against Baltimore was his first home run of the season.

Yunel Escobar's grand slam against Baltimore was his first homer of year.

When the Braves traded shortstop Yunel Escobar for Alex Gonzalez, it was easy to understand their logic. Escobar was slumping, management was turned off by his perceived attitude and they viewed him as a potential road block to a grand postseason run.

I wrote at the time that the deal could come back to haunt them. Of course, my time frame wasn’t the next four games.

Have you seen Escobar’s numbers since the deal? He is 8-for-17 (.471) with three runs scored, seven RBI and a grand slam on Sunday (his first homer of the season). He has walked once and has yet to strike out. He has moved runners along. He has been solid defensively.

Also, he has yet to pout.

So I guess he doesn’t stink after all.

Now, from the Braves’ perspective, this trade will be judged at the end of the season by: 1) Whether they  make the playoffs and how they do when they get there; 2) What role Gonzalez has in that run (for what it’s worth, he’s  3 for 16 with the Braves).

In that sense, Escobar isn’t even a factor. But the franchise’s worst nightmare down the line would be for him to turn back into the player they saw for three seasons.

Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston, who spoke to Bobby Cox about Escobar following the deal, said: “The kid’s played great here. He’s done everything we’ve asked him to do and more.”

Just want to take a pulse of Braves’ fandom here: Are you happy for Escobar, upset that he has been a success or really don’t care one way or another?

This might be even the bigger question: What will make the Gonzalez-Escobar trade a success or failure in your eyes?

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Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC and Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

486 comments Add your comment

PJ

July 20th, 2010
11:13 am

Bottomline, he wasn’t getting it done here, and obviously Braves management couldn’t figure out a way to motivate him to play like that. The trade was probably the jolt Escobar needed for him to get his head out of his you-know-what.

renegade#1

July 20th, 2010
11:14 am

super frank wren screw up.

renegade#1

July 20th, 2010
11:15 am

CC

July 20th, 2010
11:15 am

I hate to bring this up, but do you think he was even trying in Atlanta anymore?

Paul

July 20th, 2010
11:15 am

Happy for Escobar. Trade is a success if we get good 7 hole production out of Gonzalez and find a cheap and productive replacement for him in 2012. I don’t think it matters what Yunel does from here out — it was obvious that Atlanta had grown tired of his non-conformity.

Steven

July 20th, 2010
11:17 am

Esco didn’t fit in on the braves team, no matter how good he played he was just on the wrong team.

Atlantabytes

July 20th, 2010
11:21 am

Prefacing my comments by saying I trust Bobby a lot, especially when it comes to his relationships with players. Say what you want about him as a manager, but his players love him. If he felt Escobar was a problem, then I’m good with the move.

However, the Braves have stuck with slumping players with less talent for a lot longer than they stuck with Escobar. Greg Norton, Kelly Johnson, Adam LaRoche and others.

In short, if it was a clubhouse move then I have to take Bobby’s word. If it was baseball decision, I think its questionable.

savannahdawg

July 20th, 2010
11:22 am

Glad he is gone. He didn’t want to be here so whatever. All that was going to do is hurt the team.

Braves73

July 20th, 2010
11:23 am

It’s fair to say that some players thrive in different environments (especially with absolutely nothing at stake…see Kelly Johnson in Arizona). The bigger picture is not to focus on numbers, but the overall player’s ability to make his team better and do whatever it takes to win. Escobar, while HUGELY talented, had out stayed his welcome here, so any argument (after the fact) is moot.

He will be a great statistical S.S. for Toronto, but he will not lead them to the playoffs and will only feed of this emotion for a short period of time.

Matt

July 20th, 2010
11:23 am

Way, way too many mistakes or lapses in concentration. Maybe the change will do him good, but he wasn’t, and didn’t look like he ever would be, the player he was before with the Braves. It was time to move on.

Bravo Taco

July 20th, 2010
11:23 am

Good for Yunel – needed a change of scenery – we ALL knew he had the better upside, but would anyone really want him in the clubhouse still? I’ll take the steady Gonzo and a respectable .250-.275.

hmmmmmm

July 20th, 2010
11:23 am

who cares? he plays for Toronto ….. I follow the Braves. On a side note how is Casey Kothcman doing? Oh wait who cares, Kelly Johnson? who cares? Let it go man. I am an Atlanta Braves fan, from Pat Rocket to Biff Pocoroba to Al Hrabosky to Larvell Blanks …. the players come and go but I am a fan of the team and Esocobar ain’t on it…..

Jeff

July 20th, 2010
11:25 am

The trade of Esco was awful, we now are worse defensively and offensively at short. I’ve said all along that Esco will have a big second half, he will also have more homers than Gonzalez with us.

Mark my words, awful trade, Wren’s worst as GM too.

Resign or Resign?

July 20th, 2010
11:25 am

Any of us would probably put up those numbers against the Orioles!

renegade#1

July 20th, 2010
11:27 am

Braves should just give up on the season just like they gave up on Yunel. This trade is a disaster just like getting nothing for francouer, nothing for ticksherer, nothing for sorryarno. The only thing Wren has done is sign a couple of iffy free agents that he got lucky on. Would you people in the front office use your heads for something besides having somewhere to keep your ears.

Resign or Resign?

July 20th, 2010
11:27 am

…and I was a big Escobar defender; now he has no pressure on a non-contender. Totally different circumstances.

Hollywould

July 20th, 2010
11:28 am

Wow Jeff, jumping the gun here. Wait until the season is over. He reminds me of Joe Johnson/ never a smile.

TheManMike

July 20th, 2010
11:29 am

Yuni needed a change of scenery. I agree with PJ that the trade more than likely woke him up. Any production from here on out would simply be a bi-product of his mindset post-trade. I don’t think he goes 8 for 17 the past 4 games (w/ a Slam) if he is playing on this team.

My first reaction was to be mad at Yuni for not producing here, then the emotion moved to Wren for moving him….Now, I see that the move to the opposite side of the country and to the AL has opened Yunis’ eyes…I am still a fan.

But at the end of the day…GO Gonzalez and GO BRAVOS!

Techman

July 20th, 2010
11:31 am

I hated to see him go but I think the FO has made enough strong moves to warrant our trust. I wish Escobar the best of luck but hope he strikes out every AB against ATL unless we are up by 10.

NCBravesFan

July 20th, 2010
11:31 am

The Frenchy deal looked pretty bad last year for a while but in the end, players are what they are. Give it time and I’m sure Esco will show his butt to our neighbors in Canada.

Herschel Talker

July 20th, 2010
11:32 am

Schultzie:

Yes they should care. The should be pissed that he was such a scumbag here and put forth no effort while acting like a jerk. Good riddance. Welcome Gonzo.

HT

Bat Masterson

July 20th, 2010
11:32 am

I’m happy for Escobar and hope things work out for him. Escobar had been hitting better before the trade and I did not like it, that said, It’s a little early to call it. I hope Gonzalez works out because I want the Braves to win. Gonzalez is going to need to hit for some power to help overcome what he does best, make outs.

Heyward22

July 20th, 2010
11:32 am

Jeff,

I think you should have given it some time before posting this one. It’s not even a week yet and most of Yunel’s recent production came off the Orioles. An absolute terrible ball club.

Plus, the numbers game with this trade will never match, because he wasn’t a numbers problem only in Atlanta. There was a problem in the clubhouse with whatever went on, and it was obvious Yunel was happy here in Atlanta and I just don’t think he would have come around out here.

Tyler

July 20th, 2010
11:34 am

He’ll be traded to the yanks or red sox in a year and win a series. watch.

[...] Yunel Escobar on a hot streak in his first four games for the Blue Jays, Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal Constitution wonders if Braves fans should care or [...]

Angus

July 20th, 2010
11:35 am

Braves’ fans should care – we’re quite possibly looking at another trade in the near future.

If the next trade is along the lines Esco trade, no thanks.

Dawgdad (The Original)

July 20th, 2010
11:35 am

You judge the trade by how the teams do the rest of the season, do they improve or get worse and what part did Alex or Yunel have in that outcome. Yunel is obviously the more talented, but IMO, Alex will be an improvement by being consistant. When a pitcher fields a comebacker to the mound, he needs to know, with certainty, that someone is going to be covering second base and set to take the throw. That would never be the case with Yunel. Alex knows how and when to run the bases. Yunel, when PO’d was liable to do crazy stuff on the bases like getting thrown out at third with no outs or trying to steal second when the team is down three runs in the ninth. He was a loose cannon. I’m sure 5 years from now we will wish we had him back, but for now, we made the right choice.

Daniel

July 20th, 2010
11:36 am

“respectable” BA for gonzalez? i guess. but his OBP is atrocious, which pretty much nullifies that.

i just don’t get this trade at all from a baseball perspective. we traded a young player at the lowest point in his value (having an unsustainably poor season) for an old player at the highest point in his value (having an unsustainably good season, power-wise). not only is that going to come back to haunt us long term, but it could easily haunt us this year. i would not be at all surprised if yunel’s offensive numbers were substantially higher than gonzalez’s.

so the only way we “win” with this trade, in my opinion, is if the prospects we got turn out well.

RR

July 20th, 2010
11:37 am

man do any of you do any homework? all this happened against the worst team in baseball. and not just the worst, but one of the worst ever. wait til he plays the yankees, sox and rays and then let’s talk.

GTSteve

July 20th, 2010
11:38 am

All this does is prove that he had quit on the Braves and his team-mates in ATL…Good freaking riddence

Good Grief

July 20th, 2010
11:39 am

Happy for Escobar and I hope that he continues to get the support up there that the Braves didn’t bother trying to give him down here. I always felt like the Braves didn’t try to understand him but tried to change him from the way he played the game. Looks like Toronto is letting him play his game, batting him number 2 (a spot he obviously felt comfortable hitting in), and he’s producing. Good luck Yunel.

George

July 20th, 2010
11:39 am

Jeff, You of all people should know you cannot determine the value of a trade in 2 weeks. Lets all wait until the end of the year or even next year to throw stones and make judgements regarding this deal.

jason

July 20th, 2010
11:40 am

I was interested in what Yunel would do in Toronto. Hitting .471 with 2 HR’s and 7 RBI’s has convinced me that he wasn’t trying and didn’t care in Atlanta. It’s good that he’s gone and hope the best for him in Canada.

ChrisfromSacramento,CA

July 20th, 2010
11:44 am

I think it is clear that Escobar was an “I” guy and not a team guy. When he started of the year slow he just gave up and tanked it. While reading the blogs and watching other teams brodcast of the Braves games two scouts said Escobar thinks he is better than he is.

Escobar has an attitude problem, but we all saw that. He quit on the Braves. Cox didnt like the way he played and his attitude to Yunel just quit like a child. Yunel didnt care how bad he looked or the vibe he gave off, he just wanted to stick it to the Braves.

Im for one am glad he is gone, I was sick of watching him mope and look at the scorer and smirk everytime he made one of his dumb errors. Yunel is a child and wont ever be a winner at anything.

Im glad the baby is gone.

TROTTINGHOME

July 20th, 2010
11:45 am

The pitchers don’t know him… yet.

dap01

July 20th, 2010
11:45 am

Yunel is a great talent and I hope he does well. But remember, he caused the problems, he did not hit, hit pouted, he was not a good teammate.

Bluestreak

July 20th, 2010
11:47 am

Wow, what a broad sample of Esco’s work. We’re taking the last week and comparing it to the rest of his season. Let’s see how the second half shakes out before we start calling any trade a success or failure.

papadawg

July 20th, 2010
11:47 am

I’m still very glad the CRY BABY is gone

GoodGrief @ GoodGrief

July 20th, 2010
11:47 am

I guess he was just misunderstood, right?

Buffalo Soldier 48'

July 20th, 2010
11:48 am

The real problem for the Braves is “Bobby Cox”. He’s too old and has not a clue of how to treat young players… especially Latin and black players. It’s his way or the highway. He tends to embrass some players while letting certain players get away with the same offense. He is not a ‘great’ manager. With all of the talent that has come through Atlanta, the Braves should have a far better post season record. Time for Cox to be gone…. 5 years past due. I do think that Y Escobar is a “great” Shortstop. Time will tell if trade was a good or bad. J Francour will come back to haunt the Braves for a long time. I do love my BRAVES !!!!!!!!

Bluestreak

July 20th, 2010
11:49 am

Oh, and wait until he hits the first slump in TOR and he’s not on top of the world. He’ll just start sulking north of the border.

juicesourcer

July 20th, 2010
11:50 am

Not Monday morning quarterbacking here…but…been a Braves fan forever…watched 1000’s of games…live and TV….Esobar was/is a major talent…don’t understand why the Braves could not make it work with him…it will come back to haunt them…if they do make the postseason…it’s one and done…talent like this (5 tool) does not come around very often.

Mike S

July 20th, 2010
11:50 am

Happy to see Escobar doing well, but the bottom line is he had worn out his welcome in Atlanta. I wish him all the best, but no matter how good a player is or might be once he loses the respect of his manager and teammates he has to go — Escobar was at that point in Atlanta and Frank Wren did the exact right thing in trading him and getting as much quality as possible for him.

Steve

July 20th, 2010
11:51 am

The change of scenery is going to do him good. There is no doubt that he will be a talented player once he learns to grow up!!!!

bushwacker

July 20th, 2010
11:52 am

What do you expect, he’s hitting against american league pitching.
Look at past trades, usually when a player goes from the NL to the AL, his numbers get better.
When they go from the AL to the NL, they get worse.

JK

July 20th, 2010
11:53 am

It was a bad move. He had a bad first half. The Braves are a professional baseball team. If the team is unable to win because one immature player is on the team then the term professional should not be used to describe the organization. Does anyone here remember when Yunel was being compared to Edgar Renteria? Does anyone here remember how good Yunel was for his career…before this year? If you are trying to win the World Series this year you keep Yunel or trade him for someone that is a difference maker.

Michael

July 20th, 2010
11:53 am

You are the king of knee jerk. This is a stupid article.

Jim

July 20th, 2010
11:53 am

Because some players turn it around in the second half, I thought the Braves may have done this trade a little too soon. With that said, I was not disappointed to see Escober leave.

Big Mistake

July 20th, 2010
11:54 am

I always liked Yunel. The Braves are about as conservative as Sonny Purdue on a bad day and Yunel didn’t fit their mold of a suck it up “Company man”.

He has a beautiful swing and in my opinion is a very good SS. This guy could be a .310, 30, 30 guy with 100rbi’s.

Big mistake in my opinion and I thought that from the start.Alex Gongo is not bad though. Overall, a big mistake by Wren. Can Wren trade Kawakami and his $20,000,000 salary?

layinlow

July 20th, 2010
11:54 am

Escobar is a total head case. Wait till he starts to pout in Toronto. He will eventually lose focus up there just like he did with Atlanta. I’m still happy he is gone because he was a bad chemistry mix with the braves.