Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Callaspo-Uribe Trade Analysis - Five W's

Callaspo is gone, Uribe is here, and a bunch of other pieces traded around in the process. What does it all mean? What is the possible impact of such a move? Why did the trade even happen in the first place? I'll take a look at the Who-What-When-Where-Why of this trade in this trade breakdown.

WHO:

The Braves send Alberto Callaspo, Eric Stults, Ian Thomas, and Juan Jaime to the Dodgers
The Dodgers send Juan Uribe and Chris Withrow to the Braves

WHAT:

That's what most Braves fans said when they heard about this move.

WHEN:

Yesterday evening after Callaspo stopped blocking the trade. Originally, he said no and the trade was going nowhere, but he had a change of heart apparently when the Braves sat him down and explained he was going to get DFA'd if he didn't take the deal. I'm guessing on that last part.

WHERE:

Sunny LA. Where everyone is a star. And where the weather gods apparently have decided to smite the residents with a lack of rain until they sacrifice Kim Kardashian to their sunshiny blood-lust.

WHY:

That's the million dollar question. Literally. Let's get the money part out of the way. Callaspo is making $3M this year, Stults is making $2M, and Thomas & Jaime will make about half a million. That totals out around $6M in total salaries. Juan Uribe is making $6.5M, and Withrow makes around half a million as well. That's $7M in the deal. Basically a swap of $1M in payroll in favor of the Dodgers.

Now as far as pieces, let's look at the top ends of the trade, Callaspo and Uribe. Callaspo has a .206/.293/.252 slash line, which is frankly BJ Upton levels of crap. Actually that's not fair to BJ as he was never that low in OPS to finish the season. Uribe has .247/.287/.309 slash line that's not a whole lot better. The main difference is that he's more expensive than Callaspo and the Dodgers probably don't believe he has any upside left at 36, while Callaspo is only 32.

That being said, Callaspo was horrible in 2014, and for some reason the Braves took a chance on him. He showed up fat to camp, hit very well, and took Chris Johnson's starting job. Then over the season he reverted to fat, doughy form. I have no confidence in Callaspo turning it around, and I wouldn't be shocked if the Dodgers immediately cut him. I think this is a pure salary dump for them on Uribe, and they are only moderately interested in the Thomas and Jaime as part of the deal if they can ever control their stuff.

Uribe is ancient, so I'm imagining he's the backup 3B option behind Chris Johnson. If they play Uribe every day instead of Chris when he comes back from injury, that's a clear signal to me that the Braves hate Chris and would rather watch him starve to death in the dugout than play him on the field. And I have no idea why that's the case. Chris is a slightly above average hitter with some pretty below average defense. Uribe is a below average hitter with passably average defense. I'd want the better hitter in Chris out there at 3B every day, but the Braves didn't even start him this year, and it's very obvious they've been trying to trade him since last year. However, his contract is absurd thanks to Frank Wren making stupid extensions while twirling his fictional mustache. But that's dead money while he's on the team if you just ride him on the pine. I want my assets playing if they have anything to give me, and I think CJ 2.0 does have something left.

But what did the Braves get Withrow? Well it's another guy coming off TJ surgery in 2014, so we're stockpiling those guys. I want to change the Braves minor league logo to the MASH logo. If Withrow can return before year end, he'll offer a late year option out of the pen as a righty set-up man. And lord knows we need the bullpen help. The Dodgers get Stults who loves to give up homers, and Ian Thomas who is a lefty they can use for ballast in case the team hits an iceberg.

All in all, this trade makes very little sense, like two rednecks wandering up with a pile of junk in the middle of a South Georgia flea market, and one guy trading his broken TV for that guys broken outboard motor. That happens all the time down here if you don't know, because every redneck believes he can fix that other jerk's garbage. And every GM believes he can fix that other guy's struggling reliever.

In the end this trade will be much ado about nothing unless Uribe starts pounding the ball like he did in 2013 when he had 12 homers and 22 doubles. But the intangible of this trade is that Uribe is supposedly a really great clubhouse guy and teammate, which the Braves are really pushing this year. And you can understand why when last year's group of young guns had supposedly one of the worst clubhouse atmospheres ever according to insiders. That's the last thing you want on a team that's trying to build for the future.

So take heart, Braves fans. You might be getting a really cool dude out of this trade, you didn't give up much, and we all might get to see how much the Braves hate Chris Johnson. It's a win-win-win.

GO BRAVES!


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