The Atlanta Braves have traded “injury-plagued starting pitcher” Horacio Ramirez to the Seattle Mariners for reliever Rafael Soriano. As AJC’s David O’Brien notes, Soriano’s “eye-popping statistics include a .212 opponents’ average and 177 strikeouts in 171 career innings.”
A great deal for the Braves, unless Ramirez suddenly gets healthy.
And the Braves are likely not done dealing, either.
Trading for Soriano didn’t mean the Braves would keep first baseman Adam LaRoche, but they did withdraw their offer of LaRoche for Pirates closer Mike Gonzalez. The Braves still need to trim payroll, and LaRoche was at the center of several discussions Atlanta had with teams Wednesday.
Trading for Soriano could help revive talks between the Braves and Los Angeles Angels, who were prepared earlier this week to send utility man Chone Figgins and first-base prospect Casey Kotchman to the Braves for LaRoche, but balked at including a standout pitcher in the deal. The Braves may not demand a pitcher if the deal is revived. Figgins could bat leadoff and replace Marcus Giles if the second baseman is traded. Kotchman could compete with Scott Thorman at first base.
From a baseball standpoint, none of those deals would make sense. But as O’Brien explains in a different piece, the Braves are a mite pressed for cash.
You want to know why the Braves must trade Marcus Giles and/or Adam LaRoche in order to improve their pitching staff and stay within budget? Iâ€™ll tell you. Rather, Iâ€™ll show you. Because seven guys are eating up 80 percent or slightly more of the $80 million payroll. Yes, seven guys.
â€œIt is what it is,â€ general manager John Schuerholz said. â€œWe have to make some adjustments, have to be nimble on our financial feet. It doesnâ€™t stop us from doing anything; we just have to be more creative, more patient to find possible fits.â€
While $80 mil might sound like a lot to you and me, it’s not much these days. The Yankees are spending $200 million and the Red Sox and others are right behind them. These are not the glory days of the early- and mid-1990s, when Ted Turner would break out the checkbook and sign whoever the Braves need.
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