Tigers Land Their Shortstop In Renteria

The Deal
The Braves had a shortstop to trade and the Tigers desperately needed one, making the two teams natural trading partners. Edgar Renteria heads to Detroit, where he’ll replace deposed shortstop Carlos Guillen, who is moving to first base, in exchange for two prospects, righthander Jair Jurrjens and center fielder Gorkys Hernandez.
The Big Leaguer
Renteria, 32, had one his best seasons in 2007, batting .332/.390/.470 and finishing fourth in the NL batting race. But he became expendable when Yunel Escobar proved himself ready for everyday play as the veteran’s injury replacement last summer. (Atlanta also has Triple-A shortstop Brent Lillibridge behind Escobar on the organizational depth chart.) A 12-year veteran and five-time all-star, Renteria is a career .291/.349/.407 hitter with 117 home runs and 274 stolen bases. He’ll make $9 million in 2007 as he enters the final year of the four-year, $40 million deal he signed with the Red Sox, after which the Tigers can pick up a club option for $11 million or buy him out for $3 million. They’ll almost certainly do the former, as Detroit has very little in the way of internal options at shortstop.
The Prospects
A native of Curacao who signed with the Tigers in 2003, the 21-year-old Jurrjens went 7-5, 3.20 with 94-31 K-BB in 113 innings for Double-A Erie last year. He made his major league debut in August and pitched well initially (1-1, 3.60 in three August starts) before fading in September (2-0, 5.74 in four starts). Jurrjens works in the low 90s with his fastball and has impeccable control. His curveball and changeup are average.

The low Class A Midwest League’s MVP, Hernandez boasts well above-average speed and leadoff-hitter potential. Signed from Venezuela in 2005, the 20-year-old Hernandez hit .293/.344/.391 with a league-leading 54 steals in 2007. His gap-to-gap power and arm strength are just average, but he gets very good jumps and reads in center field.

Quick Take
With this deal the Braves save themselves at least $12 million (Renteria’s 2008 salary plus buyout), and coupled with Andruw Jones’ departure, the Braves all of a sudden have a lot of money to work with. From the Tigers’ perspective, Renteira gives then a sizable defensive boost at shortstop and another above-average hitter to lengthen their lineup.

Trade Central 2007