On Thursday, the Tampa Bay Rays acquired Willy Aybar and Chase Fontaine for Jeff Ridgway. We decided to take a look around and see what Braves fans had to say about the move. The feelings on the move are mixed, but most look at Ridgway as a way to add left-handed relief pitching depth to the Braves organization and believe that Ridgway can be Atlanta’s left-handed specialist in 2008. This last sentiment is a head-scratcher as the Rays have made it known that they have been in the market to acquire a left-handed relief specialist of their own, long before this trade was made. That is a clear indication that they do not believe Ridgway is capable of filling that role at the major league level.
(The trades just keep coming) And they continue to be head-scratchers. The Braves acquired left-handed reliever Jeff Ridgway from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for utility infielder Willy Aybar and minor league shortstop Chase Fontaine. Really!
I’m I missing the point of the Braves off-season strategy again? Is this the same thing as the Kotsay trade; will I eventually come around to it? For now, I’m a bit lost as to why we made this trade and why we included so much.
Ridgway is a 27-year old lefty who has thrown exactly one-third of an inning of major league baseball. In return we gave up a valuable (albeit formerly drugged-out) Aybar and a young infield hitter in Fontaine who it’s been said has a high upside, for a 27-year old lefty! Don’t we already have two and a half lefties in our bullpen? [Talking Chop]
Now I know you’re thinking “I’ve never heard of Ridgway before, this won’t help us.” – but he shows some promise. Since moving to the bullpen a couple years ago, he’s had some success and just last year posted a 3.06 ERA in 54 appearances at the AAA level. His fastball is clocked near 94 mph. We’ll probably see him in Spring Training working to make the big league team. Whether or not he ends up there is another question, but either way we will have more left-handed depth in the relief position throughout the organization. [Braves Blast]
I see a lot of similarities to Royce Ring and I think given a full year, Ridgway could be a useful LOOGY.
Aybar is out of options and was considered a dark horse to make the opening day roster so getting some value from him makes sense. He may start at third for Tampa Bay if the Rays feel that top prospect Evan Longoria could use some more seasoning in the minors or he could add depth at the position if Longoria opens the year as the Rays’ third baseman.
Fontaine would have to improve both aspects of his game, especially on the defensive side, to have a good shot at starting in the future. This trade seems pretty good for the Braves. Ridgway has decent upside and Frank Wren didn’t give up all that much. You can never have too much pitching. [Chop-n-Change]