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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