I’ve been on record as saying that I’m a Yunel sympathizer.
I’ve lauded his talent and said that his occasional lapses are just part of an incredible, high-upside, (overall) well-rounded Major League shortstop.
But you know what?
When I got this text from my friend: “Did you see that trade?”, and shimmied my way over to MLB Trade Rumors to be greeted by “Blue Jays Acquire Yunel Escobar…” I wasn’t nearly as torn up and angry as I would I have anticipated myself being when I started bracing for this news about a month ago.
And I think that’s because I’m as fed up with the Cuban import as some of his teammates are.
By selling low on the 27-year-old ball of talent, Frank Wren and the Braves got a guy in Alex Gonzalez that has an OBP of .296 in a career year (I’m being pessimistic with the stats for dramatic effect; his 17 homers and 25 doubles are pretty legit), a 5’7″, 20-year-old left-hander that’s striking out dudes at an incredible rate (15.3 K/9), and a burner from the middle of the infield that has a last name that’s almost impossible to spell (P-A-S-T-O-R-N-I-C-K-Y).
Oh, and in addition by subtraction, the Blue Jays (begrudgingly, I’d imagine) took on the dude that Jonny Venters ran out of town (Jo-Jo Reyes).
Honestly, considering the attitude and attempt to rip Troy Glaus’ hand off, that’s a pretty good haul for a guy that Bobby Cox hates (especially the whole Reyes part…that makes me giggle like a school girl).
Sure, Yunel has been unsustainably cold this year (posting a BABIP 46 points below his career mark of .316) and has shown that he is, when he’s clicking on all cylinders, one of the best offensive shortstops in baseball.
But, even though other Braves need some “adjustments” at times (see Brian McCann’s audible F-bombs after each strikeout), his place in an organization that prides itself on class both on and off the diamond seemed to be nonexistent.
Given time to reflect on his antics (now that he’s an “enemy”), it seems that it was less of Yunel “hating to lose ” (it’s one of two from July 10) and more of him being “hardheaded.”
The time came where his .812 OPS from 2009 (when he was the Braves’ MVP) simply couldn’t outweigh his protruding bottom lip when something didn’t exactly fall his way.
So long Yunel…I still love ya (in a man-crush manner) and wish you the best of luck with Cito Gaston’s Jays.
I’m just sort of glad now that your antics (which were once enjoyable) have moved on to another franchise.
Your a helluva talent…let’s just hope this wake-up call gets your career back to the All-Star status it once promised.
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