First off, let me just state this post could be jumping the gun. Hell, I might be winning the 10K marathon because I started the week before everyone else did (which would explain why I had time for so much beer as I went). I know that, I own that. Now that we’ve clarified I’m trying to show the skill of clairvoyance, let’s review.
Chipper Jones has already announced he’ll retire after the end of the 2012 season and he just went on the DL to start the year due to…well whatever is ailing Chipper. Seriously, the dude hurt himself putting on a sock at one point in his career. A SOCK for all those who can only read capital letters. Though they could’ve put Martin Prado at 3rd to temporarily hold the spot, the Braves trade for a seldom used free swinger from Cincinatti named Juan Francisco. So the guy who should get the majority of starts at 3rd if and when Glass Chipper gets injured – which happens every other day – is currently less than 1% owned in yahoo, ESPN, and Fleaflicker leagues? While it’s true Jones will eventually come back and play 3rd again, in deeper leagues you have to ask yourself some important questions: ‘How long will Chipper play at age 40′, ‘will he play well if he comes back’, ‘if Juan plays well, does it delay Chipper’s return and does he come back at all at that point’ and ‘where are the question marks, I thought these were questions!!!’? It’s true, the trade for Francisco was due to the ‘In case of Glass Chipper break, emergency’ sign above Jone’s locker but it’s clear the Braves don’t want Prado at 3rd in the future full time with this trade. Since 2004, Jones has averaged 122.75 games a season with his highest total coming in 2009 at 143. Chipper has always been a gamer but he’s never been confused with the Iron Man (though he has been confusing blue collar fans everywhere with his Larry the Cable Guy impersonation). The Braves will need a replacement after this season and what better way to do it then to work with the possible future one this year?
Note Juan is not without his faults. He has an atrocious walk rate, a high strike out rate and – though the sample is small – has not hit lefties well in his MLB career (in 26 ABs, he’s hit .192). The Braves did not start him during opening day as the Mets were running a lefty – Johan Santana - out on the mound. Now after all that, let’s look at the positives. He should go against righties and has hit – again, small sample size – .301 for his career vs them. He’ll also hit for power when he hits the ball, having a career .450 slugging percentage. No, we’re not talking about a guy you are dropping Ian Stewart or Chris Davis for him, though by skill set Davis is a good comparison point. He is a guy you need to watch for most leagues but is a pickup for deep leagues that need 3B depth or NL Only leagues. He’s a bat that could take off if given an opportunity.