4/23/98: A secondhand-type rumor I’ve heard has the Braves dealing Kevin Millwood to the Indians for David Justice. I doubt that there’s anything to it, but if there is, it’s an awful move. The Braves don’t have another starter candidate ready to take Millwood’s place, and they have lots of outfielders. Maybe none is quite of Justice’s quality, but they aren’t far behind him.
I need to explain something: I have never been a big fan of Justice’s, and I’ve come to think that I’m not entirely rationaal about it. But going back to the 1994 offseason (when I thought that the Braves should have given an long-term contract to Ron Gant instead of Justice — this was before Gant’s little dirtbike incident) and continuing through last season’s trade. Anyway, Justice is not an elite player, he misses too much time with injuries, and if you haven’t seen him as an Indian, he’s lost his throwing arm and can’t play right field anymore. (The Indians play Manny Ramirez, a terrible outfielder but a much better offensive player, in right.) But the injuries are the main factor; Justice missed nearly half the games the Braves played in his last two seasons in Atlanta, and really has only played most of the season only once.