Tigers.MLB.com reports the Detroit Tigers traded starting pitcher Jair Jurrjens and outfielder Gorkys Hernandez to the Atlanta Braves in exchange for shortstop Edgar Renteria.
The Tigers were in need of an everyday shortstop after deciding to move former shortstop Carlos Guillen to first base next season. Filling the spot with Renteria, who is coming off a solid 2007 season, makes the Tigers' lineup more formidable, on paper at least, going into 2008. The Tigers will essentially swap first baseman Sean Casey, with his .296 average, four home runs and 40 runs scored, for Renteria, who hit .312 with 12 home runs, 87 runs scored and 11 stolen bases last season despite missing almost all of August due to an ankle injury. Renteria also brings a good glove to the field and should help form a nice double-play tandem with second baseman Placido Polanco.
The Braves will likely replace Renteria in the lineup with a young prospect, infielder Yunel Escobar, unless they make a move to acquire another shortstop during the offseason. Escobar was brought up to the Braves in early June of last season and was solid, logging a .326 average with five home runs, 28 RBI and 54 runs scored in 319 at-bats. The team apparently feels confident enough in Escobar's during his stint in place of the injured Renteria to deal the veteran to acquire young pitching help.
Renteria's value may increase, but only marginally. He joins a lineup that was second in the American League in runs scored (887) and leaves one that was third in the National League (810). It's hard to imagine the 32-year-old Renteria exceeding his production from this past season. In his lone season in the AL, in 2005 with the Boston Red Sox, he batted .276 with eight home runs, 70 RBI, 100 runs and nine stolen bases.
Jurrjens looked promising in seven appearances for the Tigers last season, notching a 3-1 record with a 4.70 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 13 strikeouts. Jurrjens will likely get a shot at joining the Braves' rotation during spring training as a No. 5 starter. He has the talent to be a solid pitcher for Atlanta in the future.
Hernandez has been labeled a natural leadoff hitter with very good speed and considerable power to the gaps, but he lacks patience at the plate. Last season, with Class A Western Michigan, he batted .293 with four home runs, 50 RBI, 84 runs and 54 steals in 124 games. The 20-year-old appears to be at least a year away from the majors, but he could be viewed as a long-term replacement for outfielder Andruw Jones, who is not expected to re-sign with Atlanta.
About Alex Resch
Resch has been a KFFL Hot Off the Wire Analyst since 2006.
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