And they continue to be head-scratchers. The Braves acquired left-handed reliever Jeff Ridgway from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for utility infielder Willy Aybar and minor league shortstop Chase Fontaine. Really!
I'm I missing the point of the Braves off-season strategy again? Is this the same thing as the Kotsay trade; will I eventually come around to it? For now, I'm a bit lost as to why we made this trade and why we included so much.
Ridgway is a 27-year old lefty who has thrown exactly one-third of an inning of major league baseball. In return we gave up a valuable (albeit formerly drugged-out) Aybar and a young infield hitter in Fontaine who it's been said has a high upside, for a 27-year old lefty! Don't we already have two and a half lefties in our bullpen? What was the Will Ohman trade? Is Royce Ring a useless pile of dung and I'm just not aware of this?
Oh, this really makes me fear that Mike Gonzalez might not be back this year, so the team is trying to acquire all the options and depth it can. But is this really the market for what can only be described as an "organizational left-handed reliever?"
Last year at Durham Ridgway did strike out 67 batters in 64.2 innings pitched and he held left-handed batters to a .163 batting average and right-handers to a .269 average. Okay, not too bad, but it's still just triple-A. He does apparently throw in the low 90's getting all the way to 94.
So we make this trade AND the utility infielder we just acquired, Omar Infante, apparently has a broken hand that could require surgery and keep him out until mid-March necessitating that he may have to start the year on the disable list.
DEJA VU ALERT!!!
Isn't this the same damn thing that happened to Aybar last year? He had a broken hand which made him miss spring training, oh, and that led to a bit of a pain killer addiction, be it a prescription pain killer or Johnny Walker Red.
I guess it's a decent move for depth that we hope (there's that word again) can be a major league pitcher. At least we won't be short of lefty-relievers next year.