Wednesday was a busy day for Atlanta, as the Braves released a Hall of Famer, pulled off a big trade, and announced plans to call up their top prospect over the weekend. Tom Glavine tossed six shutout innings in a rehab start Tuesday and said afterward that he was ready to rejoin the rotation, but instead the Braves cut the 305-game winner loose Wednesday and prepped for the Tommy Hanson era.
Glavine would’ve been due a $1 million roster bonus and also could have earned $2.5 million for 90 days on the team, but that money will now go to Nate McLouth after Atlanta acquired him from Pittsburgh just hours later for Gorkys Hernandez, Charlie Morton, and Jeff Locke. While that package represents solid value for the Pirates, it’s odd that they’d build the deal around a center fielder like Hernandez.
Hernandez projects as a possible leadoff man in time, but has limited upside and the Pirates already have a long-term center fielder in Andrew McCutchen. In fact, they called McCutchen up immediately after trading McLouth and the 22-year-old will play every day. His bat may not be an asset yet after hitting .291/.367/.424 at Triple-A, but he swiped 48 bases in 210 games there and offers strong defense.
For the Braves, bringing in McLouth a day after demoting Jordan Schafer back to Triple-A represents a huge upgrade offensively. His glove is incredibly overrated, but McLouth has hit .268/.353/.482 while going 52-for-56 swiping bases over the past three years. Adding him without giving up one of the organization’s best 3-4 prospects is a no-brainer move for the Braves given their weak outfield situation.
Meanwhile, the team’s top prospect and arguably the best pitching prospect in all of baseball will be joining the rotation Saturday instead of Glavine. While cutting Glavine when he was ready to pitch again is likely tough for fans to take, Hanson is simply a better pitcher right now after posting a 1.50 ERA with 90 strikeouts in 66.1 innings at Triple-A, and Atlanta still has lots of rotation depth to fall back on.
While the Braves hog all the headlines for a day, here are some other notes from around baseball ...
* In other prospect news, the White Sox are calling up 2008 first rounder Gordon Beckham, which is interesting given that Ozzie Guillen explained a few days ago that “if we have Beckham here, we’re in trouble.” Apparently they’re in trouble, or at least tired of getting horrible production from second and third base. Beckham has hit .316/.371/.509 as a pro and went 10-for-23 in a brief stint at Triple-A.
* Phil Hughes went 2-0 with a 3.50 ERA and 21/3 K/BB ratio during his last three starts, but the Yankees demoted him to the bullpen anyway Wednesday to make room in the rotation for Chien-Ming Wang. Wang will be limited to 75-80 pitches in his Thursday start against the Rangers after allowing two runs in eight innings of relief work since coming back from the disabled list.
AL Quick Hits: Kevin Youkilis exited Wednesday’s game after Josh Anderson ran over his ankle ... Jeff Niemann tossed a two-hit shutout Wednesday, striking out nine Royals ... Asdrubal Cabrera is expected to miss 2-4 weeks with a separated shoulder, moving Jhonny Peralta back to shortstop ... Cliff Lee turned in his 10th straight Quality Start with eight innings of one-run ball Wednesday night ... Jered Weaver racked up a career-high 10 strikeouts while allowing one run over seven innings Wednesday ... Andy Pettitte lost Wednesday for the first time since April 26, giving up four runs and six walks in five innings ... After being bashed around for eight runs Wednesday, Brian Bannister is 1-3 with a 7.86 ERA since starting 3-0 ... Josh Beckett had a no-hitter through 7.2 innings Wednesday, but failed to record the third out ... Mark Teixeira was scratched from the lineup Wednesday with a bruised ankle ... Anthony Swarzak predictably ran out of magic pixie dust Wednesday, coughing up six runs in four innings.
NL Quick Hits: Randy Johnson’s bid for victory No. 300 was postponed by rain Wednesday ... Brandon Webb (shoulder) threw from flat ground Wednesday and reported no problems ... Carlos Beltran (stomach virus) was in the lineup before Wednesday’s game was postponed, but Jose Reyes (calf) suffered a setback in his rehab and is no longer due off the disabled list when eligible Friday ... Jorge Cantu went deep Wednesday for the first time in 25 games and Brandon Phillips stole his first bases in over a month ... Scott Hairston’s breakout was put on hold Wednesday when a biceps strain sent him to the DL ... Kyle Lohse exited in the third inning Wednesday, aggravating his forearm problem ... Hunter Pence went 4-for-5 with a homer Wednesday, driving in his first runs since May 21 ... Sammy Sosa formally retired Wednesday by saying: “I will calmly wait for my introduction to the Hall of Fame” and “will not allow anyone to tarnish what I did on the field.”