My goodness the trade speculation season is starting early this year, and every web beat writer has their scenario to add, supported of course by vague references from unnamed major league sources. Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com chimes in with this about the possible flexibility in our starting rotation:
Tom Glavine has one last rehabilitation start scheduled (Tuesday at Class A Rome), and by the weekend he could be joining the Braves rotation. With super-prospect Tommy Hanson pushing for a call-up, and with Tim Hudson due back from Tommy John surgery later this year, the Braves will soon have a glut of starters.
Meanwhile, the Braves are still searching everywhere for a hitter, preferably one who doesn't add a lot to their payroll.
Here's one solution, suggested by a scout familiar with the Braves: Trade Javier Vazquez, who makes $11.5 million this year and $11.5 million next season, and try to get a big hitter in return. Vazquez has a limited no-trade clause, but he also has a 3.58 ERA and 86 strikeouts (tied with Johan Santana for the National League lead).
I bemoaned the return of Tom Glavine this morning, and to some degree I still do, but a healthy Glavine would certainly seem to make some other starter in our rotation expendable. I would hate to lose our depth at that position, but what's the good of depth in the rotation if your offense can't score any runs for them on any sort of regular basis.
In thinking about it more, why would the Braves be waiting for the already frail and aged Glavine to return to the rotation? Do they, or this reporter, think he's going to come back as some sort of top of the rotation starter? Do either think that his imminent frailty is any less of a factor as the season goes on? If the Braves are waiting for Glavine, they shouldn't be. If they want to make a trade involving Vazquez for a big bat, then make it now, why wait?
On the flip side of this trade-Vazquez scenario is the argument that we'd be shifting one area of weakness to another. While the rotation wouldn't get hurt as badly as the outfield needs some offense, it would lose it's quintessential veteran power pitcher.
I don't think the Braves brain trust is key on trading Vazquez. They brought him here to be a durable top-to-mid-rotation starter in a deep rotation, and remember that the Braves have always favored a strong rotation over offense. File this trade rumor away in the idle speculation yet intriguing department.