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A Few More Thoughts on the McBride/Ledezma Trade

It's always nice to think that your team is on the winning side of a trade. This trade was a bit harder to digest for me, and I think many Braves fans because Macay was one of the Baby Braves, a former first round pick, a local boy, and someone we had gotten used to in the pen. We had seen him come along through the minors and through the majors and had a bit of an attachment to him. It turns out that many Tigers fans had a similar attachment to Ledezma:

I'm just a little perplexed by this trade still. We've been pretty patient with Ledezma, it seems, because everyone appears to agree that the nebulous Potential is still there, he just has trouble accessing it consistently. So..... we're willing to sit and wait for four seasons, but suddenly we decide we've had enough?

I suppose what's bothering me is that I don't feel like we've gotten back our investment in Ledezma with this trade. Like... really? That was his peak value? A lefty-specialist type no more consistent than he is, and with maybe less upside? If the Tigers didn't think Ledezma was going to work out, maybe they should have moved him years ago, when he was, y'know, younger and more likely to net us more in a trade. So this "nope, sorry, suddenly decided this is the end of the line" business is weird and I don't like it.

But who got the better side of the trade? This is from an ESPN chat by Keith Law:

Question: How good is Mcay McBRide, the guy that the Tigers just acquired?

Keith Law: Lefty specialist who's always had iffy control and who's really lost the strike zone this year. I'd rather have Ledezma, especially for the long term.

It seems as though the potential factor is a bit more with Ledezma as is the raw "stuff" factor. Perhaps a change of scenery will be beneficial for Wil (and McBride). Here is what Ian Casselberry of the Tigers blog, Bless You Boys, has to say about our newly acquired pitcher Wilfredo Ledezma:

I think some Tigers fans were disappointed to see Ledezma get traded because his abilities show so much promise. He's been expected to be a part of the starting rotation for a couple of years, but other young pitchers kept leapfrogging him. Maybe we should've suspected that the team had finally written him off when he wasn't named the fifth starter after Kenny Rogers was injured at the end of Spring Training.  

Atlanta fans should expect him to someday be the third to fifth starter in the Braves' rotation, because he certainly has the talent to be a quality starting pitcher in the major leagues. He throws in the low 90's and can mix it up with a very good curveball. Maybe he needs to develop a decent third pitch to truly become someone who can go through a lineup three or four times in a ballgame.  

But he seems better suited to a multi-inning role rather than short relief. At the beginning of the season, I think the Tigers were hoping Ledezma would be the left-handed specialist, but for whatever reason, he can't get those guys out. Lefties bat .340 against him. He also doesn't respond very well to pressure situations. If he has to protect a lead or keep a ballgame tied, he seems to crumble. Unfortunately, that's exactly the sort of role the Tigers needed him to pitch well in. But if he begins a game or comes in when there's a large cushion, he relaxes. However, I think he could be a fifth starter on almost any team in the major leagues, so if that's what the Braves need, they probably got the right guy.

Check back tomorrow for a more in-depth preview of the Braves-Tigers series as Ian answers more of my questions about the Tigers.

After reading some of the Tigers fans comments I'm feeling better about the trade. I know that statistically Dez doesn't look too hot, but stats don't always tell the full story. The Braves have said they plan to use him in relief for now, but I'd like to see them go ahead and convert him to a starter. Perhaps they could throw Ledezma a few innings and then just plan on having Villarreal or Moylan throw the next three and then just gradually increase his work load from there - converting him to a starter while keeping him in the majors (as they must). At this point what do we have to lose?

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