I don’t really get this one. The Braves traded Villarreal straight-up for Anderson, who is your basic fourth-outfielder type, or what in my youth, before 13-man pitching staffs, was called a “fifth-outfielder”, or even “sixth-outfielder” type, comparable to DeWayne Wise, etc. What the release doesn’t mention is that Anderson didn’t hit a single home run in his 67 AB for the Astros last year, playing in a park where anyone is a home run hitter. He hit .358, so whoopee, but he’s not really a .358 hitter — who is? He’s going into his age 25 season (and an “old 25”, born in August) and has 15 career minor league homers and a career .290/.337/.373 line. I can’t imagine they’d want him to play regularly, though I don’t see much difference between him and Willie Harris as an outfielder.
What this does, I guess, is get something for Villarreal, who was likely going to be in a roster crunch with the acquisitions of Jurrjens and (presumably) Glavine. Also, the Braves evidently have decided that Villarreal is nothing more than a swingman, and don’t want to pay an arbitration award. Villarreal made $925K in 2007 and would be looking at, I dunno, $1.5 million in 2008? Even if the salary cap goes up, it’s hard to justify paying your eleventh pitcher anything much above the minimum.
UPDATE from DOB’s blog entry:
Just talked to Frank right after the release came out, and he made it clear to me that this kid will compete for the job, but isn’t “the” replacement. Braves wanted to get him now in case they can’t acquire another, more experienced guy this winter.
Again, this guy will compete for the job, and I’d guess he would be the favorite unless the Braves get another center fielder this winter.
They better get another centerfielder, or Schafer’s going to be up in May.