The reported signing of Rafael Furcal has re-ignited the rumors, which never really went away, about the Braves imminent trade for Jake Peavy. This trade once made a great deal of sense for the Padres and the Braves.
It no longer does.
Many people immediately assume the acquisition of Furcal, assuming it is made official in the next few days, makes a trade for Jake Peavy more likely. I would argue the exact opposite.
First, two assumptions:
1)I'm assuming Yunel Escobar would be involved in any trade for Peavy. I just can't imagine the Padres being willing to accept a package of minor-leaguers for Peavy when they have made it clear they are prepared to keep him on the roster for at least the start of the 2009 season.
2) I'm also assuming Yunel Escobar and Rafael Furcal have similar value. Over two seasons, Escobar has hit .303, with a .373 OBP and a .420 slugging percentage. Furcal, over 9 seasons has hit. .286, with a .352 OBP and a .412 slugging percentage. They have similiar contact, on-base and power numbers. Furcal steals more bases, although it's unclear how much his back problems will affect his base stealing in the future. The two are essentially equal defensively.
While Furcal has a more proven track record, he is also much more of an injury risk than Escobar. Given Escobar may have room for development, especially in the power department, I think you could make a solid case Escobar is the more desirable player baseball-wise.
The rest of proposition comes down to mathematics. When thinking about the Bracve perusing Jake Peavy, ask yourself how much sense the following scenario makes:
The Braves give Furcal $10 to replace Escobar who will make very little in 2009 and 2010. He'll be arbitration eligible in 2011, the last year of Furcal's guaranteed 3-year deal. Then, they trade Escobar and three other prospects for Peavy, who makes $15 million a year.
If you consider Escobar and Furcal interchangeable, what you have is the Braves giving up three prospects in order to pay an additional $25 million per year for Jake Peavy's services.
Jake Peavy is a good pitcher. Probably one of the 10 best in the game. But he is not worth $25 million per year. If the Braves intended to spend that much on a pitcher, they could have out-bid the Yankees for CC Sabathia and not had to give up three prospects to acquire him.
The Furcal signing, to me, is proof the Braves no longer have interest in Peavy.
I'm not saying Escobar or Kelly Johnson won't be traded, but it won't be for high-priced starting pitcher or outfielder. The Braves just spent the money they hoped to allocate to Peavy on Furcal. What might make sesne is trading Escobar or Johnson for a young power-hitting outfielder or a young starting pitcher such as Zack Greinke or Paul Maholm.
Or, the Braves could keep both of them and trade for a young power-hitting center-fielder using prospects.
It simply doesn't make sense to sign Furcal to replace Escobar in order to trade Escobar for a high-priced veteran. Even If the Braves had that kind of money to throw around, they would going after Sabathia and Texiera, not trading prospects and adding $25 million to the payroll in order to bring in Peavy.