Here’s the kind of sentence no fan likes to read: “Starting with the July 2007 trade for Mark Teixeira, and including the December trade for Javier Vazquez as well as Wednesday’s trade for center fielder Nate McLouth, Atlanta has made three prospect-for-veteran trades that would pretty much gut your average farm system.” That’s the appraisal (link requires registration) of Matt Meyers in ESPN The Magazine. But wait.
Meyers also writes: “Because the Braves are so good at developing their own talent, this trade doesn’t cripple them like it might other teams. However, they have given up a boatload of talent … and yet they haven’t been to the playoffs since 2005. Teixeira is gone, Vazquez is still inconsistent, and McLouth isn’t a superstar. It’s hard to shake the feeling that these three recent prospect-for-veteran deals won’t come back to haunt them in the next few seasons.” (Buzz editor’s note: Meyers writes “won’t,” but in context of the article I believe he means “will.”)
Meanwhile, Cliff Corcoran of SI.com credits the Braves for seizing an opportunity in the NL East. But this is his take on McLouth: “An asset at the plate, but he’s not a true impact player.” Corcoran’s conclusion: “This could prove to be a deal in which there is no loser — neither team gave up something they couldn’t afford to lose — but if the Braves aren’t playing baseball in October, it could be, in a literal sense, one in which there’s no real winner.”
The Texas Rangers stand as a case study of what can happen when you’re on the other end of a propects-for-veteran trade (requires registration), writes Christina Kahrl of Baseball Prospectus. Writes Kahrl: “It’s fair to suggest that the sheer quantity of quality added in the deal has made a significant difference for the Rangers, while also coming well shy of propelling the Braves into the postseason.”
Well, now. These wouldn’t seem rave reviews. But I think the length of McLouth’s contract — he’s locked up through 2012 — tips the balance toward the Men of Wren. They had to have a bat and a center fielder, and they got both long-term. And they didn’t give up Tommy Hanson or Jason Heyward to do it.
There was likewise much discussion over Joe Johnson’s underwhelming playoff performance, but Michael Gearon Jr., one of the Hawks’ several owners, said in an interview with J. Scott Trubey of the Atlanta Business Chronicle that Johnson suffered from “an undisclosed foot injury the second half of the season.” And here we thought the guy was just tired.
In its latest mock draft, The Hoops Report has the Hawks taking Ty Lawson of North Carolina in Round 1. In his latest mock, Sean Deveney of Sporting News Today has them taking Jeff Teague of Wake Forest.
But not all point guards are created equal. Chad Ford of ESPN.com rated those available and had Teague No. 6 among PGs and Lawson No. 9 (requires registration), which wouldn’t necessarily be the way I’d see it. (Ford has Eric Maynor of VCU No. 8.) And sure enough, Ford has the Hawks taking Teague (requires registration) with the 19th pick in his latest mock.
And who does NBAdraft.net have the Hawks taking? Not a point guard, but Tyler Hansbrough. If that happens, you’ll hear the boos all the way to Chapel Hill.
One thing more: NBAdraft.net no longer has Gani Lawal on its 2009 board. He’s listed instead as the 20th pick in the 2010 draft. Does that mean he’s returning to Georgia Tech? There has, it should be said, been no official announcement. But it’s enough to make you go, “Hmmm.”
In an interview with Matt Hayes of Sporting News Today, Mark Richt said that, in meetings with his players after spring practice, he asked each for the name(s) of the team leader(s). Said Richt: “They could write one guy or five guys, and 107 guys wrote Joe Cox.”
Esteemed former colleague Mark Schlabach of ESPN.com has found, through an open records request (a Schlabach staple) that Georgia signee Robert Dozier’s score of 1,260 on his SAT back in December 2003 raised enough concerns that he was asked to re-take the test. When he did, in June 2004, he scored 720. Georgia denied his application for admission two months later.
Dozier, of Lithonia, wound up at Memphis and started at forward on the team that came within an eyelash of the 2008 NCAA title. He figures to be taken in Round 2 of the NBA draft.
And before you start saying, “Aha! Another Jim Harrick recruit!”, it should be noted that Dennis Felton was Georgia’s coach in December 2003.