We keep hearing that the Braves’ rotation will be just as good without the man who finished fourth in the National League Cy Young voting in 2009. The (thin) reasoning: That Javier Vazquez was unlikely to have such a season again, but that Tim Hudson — who underwent Tommy John surgery in 2008 and who has won two games since — will absolutely return to top-of-the-rotation form. This, I say again, assumes a lot.
I haven’t quite bought it, and I note for your edification that the estimable Buster Olney of ESPN.com hasn’t yet, either. Writing for ESPN’s Insiders, Buster O. lists his top five rotations — top six, actually — and somehow doesn’t include the Braves’. (Link requires registration.) His rankings:
Of the latter, Olney writes: “The Phillies would have been No. 1 if they had Halladay, [Cliff] Lee and Hamels 1-2-3.” And what of the Braves? Here goes:
“I probably would have placed [them] at No. 3 if not for the trade of Javier Vazquez.”
So I guess that makes two among us who haven’t quite grasped the offseason Zen of Wren — Buster O. and yours truly. But you are, as ever, free to tell me how obstinately obtuse I am.