So the trade de jour involves Willy Aybar – who has been on a bit of a roller coaster over the past two years. Wren announced late yesterday that he sent Aybar and minor leauge infielder Chase Fontaine to the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for left-handed relief pitcher Jeff Ridgway.
Now I know you’re thinking “I’ve never heard of Ridgway before, this won’t help us.” – but he shows some promise. Since moving to the bullpen a couple years ago, he’s had some success and just last year posted a 3.06 ERA in 54 appearances at the AAA level. His fastball is clocked near 94 mph. We’ll probably see him in Spring Training working to make the big league team. Whether or not he ends up there is another question, but either way we will have more left-handed depth in the relief position throughout the organization.
As you remember, Aybar was a highly touted prospect a couple years ago before struggling with substance abuse last year and not reporting in to the team for months at a time. His return was doubtful and the Braves reduced their need for him by trading for Omar Infante from the Cubs this off-season.
The second player in the deal, Chase Fontaine, was a second round pick in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft, and batted .288 with 3 homers in 95 games with the Class A Rome Braves before a late-season promotion to High A Myrtle Beach, where he played in 22 games and hit .205.
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