Braves bet against youth

Another trade nobody saw coming, this one essentially a swap of two shortstops. One's fairly young and one's fairly old, and what's odd is that the fairly young shortstop (Yunel Escobar) might actually be better than the fairly old shortstop (Alex Gonzalez). Are the Braves getting ripped off? Joe Pawlikowski isn't so sure. Joe's big finish:

    After further examination, this trade doesn’t seem nearly as bad for the Braves as it did at first glance. Toronto still won their end, but that doesn’t preclude the Braves from claiming victory as well. They’ve gotten rid of a player whom they clearly do not like, and replaced him with a player who, if nothing else, will provide value on defense. The prospects also help out, and while neither projects as a future star both can be useful pieces in a year or two. Maybe it’s a win, though I wouldn’t go so far as to say that. But it doesn’t look like the clear loss I had imagined when digging into the topic.

For me, the obvious takeaway is the Braves have become really, really, really disenchanted with Escobar, who for three seasons was considered one of the game's best young shortstops. Has he suddenly forgotten how to hit? He hasn't forgotten how to field. Or at least his numbers are solid, which mildly suggests he's not playing (badly) hurt.

We've got a mystery on our hands. The Braves think they've already got it figured out. The Blue Jays must think so, too. They can't really both be right. While it's a five-player deal and we're all optimistic about Tim Collins, essentially this is a classic "challenge trade": our shortstop for your shortstop and next year we'll figure who was right.

My money's on the Jays. But as Pawlikowski points out elsewhere, the Braves have done this sort of thing before and they've usually been right.