Jays, Braves swap shortstops
SS Yunel Escobar
LHP Jo-Jo Reyes (Minors)
SS Alex Gonzalez
LHP Tim Collins (Minors)
INF Tyler Pastornicky (Minors)
Escobar takes over for Gonzalez as the Blue Jays’ shortstop, while Reyes has been optioned to Double-A New Hampshire. Toronto designated pitcher Ronald Uviedo for assignment to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for Escobar.
When the Jays signed Gonzalez to a one-year deal worth $2.75 million over the winter, it was primarily for his glove. The thought from the beginning was that he could become a valuable trading chip if he took off on offense as well. That’s precisely what Gonzalez did in the first half and the Jays felt it made sense to pull the trigger on this deal.
Escobar is not having his best season (.238 in 75 games for the Braves), but he is younger and will be eligible for arbitration for the first time in the winter. His price may be similar to the $2.5 million club option Gonzalez has for 2011, too. So, Escobar is controllable for a few more years. That can help buy some more development time for shortstop prospect Adeiny Hechavarria. The fact that Escobar and Hechavarria are both from Cuba certainly does not hurt the development process, either.
Reyes adds some depth, but Jays fans will certainly be upset to see Collins go. Collins is the 5-foot-7 lefty reliever from Worcester, Mass., that was discovered by the Ricciardis. This year, the little lefty had a staggering 73 strikeouts in 43 innings at Double-A. Pastornicky was hitting .258 in his second season with Class A Dunedin.