I thought it would be a good day to take a look at the two one-for-one trades that the Atlanta Braves have made in the past month. The first being the trade of hometown star Jeff Francoeur to the rival New York Mets for Ryan Church, and the second being the re-aquisition of first baseman Adam LaRoche for the unpopular Casey Kotchman.
I guess the first question should be, "has anyone really missed Jeff Francoeur?" I don't think we've missed him on the diamond, maybe the clubhouse, but that was becoming questionable. Here is a comparison of Francoeur's stats with the Mets, and Ryan Church's stats with the Braves.
|2009 - Jeff Francoeur||26||100||10||30||3||0||4||19||3||12||0||2||.300||.330||.450|
|2009 - Ryan Church||19||54||12||15||3||0||2||9||11||9||0||0||.278||.400||.444|
In true Francoeur form he has played more games -- that's what he does, he's always in the lineup for better or worse. At first glance you may be surprised to see Frenchy hitting .300, I was. Jeff hitting .300 for any month-long stretch is pretty amazing, and he's doing it while driving in runs, but that's where his value stops. When we look at OPS (not listed above), we see that Church has a higher OPS than Francoeur, .844 to .780. That's a pretty big disparity, and most all of it can be accounted for in the getting-on-base department. Church also doesn't lose many points in the slugging department.
Church is certainly more of a patient hitter, we all knew that. Francoeur has 1 unintentional walk with the Mets (that's one natural walk in a month), and aside from the 4 homeruns, he's been mainly a singles hitter. The added RBI's can be attributed to him spending most of his time in New York hitting 4th and 5th in a better position to drive in runs than he was in Atlanta. Even then, this trade still looks like a wash in terms of real offensive production. Church has been what we needed him to be -- a more rounded offensive option in right field -- and Francoeur has given the Mets what they perceive is more power.
Here is the second of our recent one-for-one trades, and a comparison of Kotchman's stats with the Red Sox and LaRoche's stats with the Braves.
|2009 - Casey Kotchman||4||9||2||1||0||0||1||2||1||5||0||0||.111||.200||.444|
|2009 - Adam LaRoche||9||32||5||11||1||0||1||4||6||10||0||0||.344||.436||.469|
Obviously this trade has worked out better than we could have ever imagined so far. Adam LaRoche has been hitting mainly in the bottom third of the batting order, but he's hitting like he should be in the middle of the order. Casey Kotchman has not gotten into many games, and it will likely be a shock and require a period of adjustment for him to go from a starting role to a pinch-hitting role. Thus this comparison is likely unfarily biased. Still, LaRoche has done better than Kotchman was likely capable of doing (even with the small sample size).
Taken as a whole, the two trades netted us upgrades in right and at first base. We acquired guys who are going to give us more total offense than the guys we gave up. We also got two guys who will give us more financial flexibility and positional flexibility this off-season.