Just relaying a post I gave to the numb-nuts members of a Braves facebook group I belong to.
"We had one of the best offenses in the Major Leagues last season, good for sixth. SIXTH. The Yankees, Indians, Phillies, Mets, and Blue Jays were the only teams with better offenses (three AL teams, and two NL East teams). In my mind, trading away a part of that offense with someone (Thorman) waiting in the wings to have a decent chance at replacing it is fine with me, given our bullpen situation. I'm quite glad to have Gonzalez coming over (he would have easily been the most valuable of our relievers were he with our organization last year, so too would Soriano), and receiving Lillibridge only sweetens the deal.
From Baseball America:
"Gonzalez, a 28-year-old lefthander, helps shore up an Atlanta bullpen that was a weakness last year but already was bolstered this offseason by the acquistion of Rafael Soriano. Gonzalez has better stuff that most southpaws, starting with a plus fastball and slider. He went 3-4, 2.17 with 24 saves in 54 games last year. He had a 64-31 K-BB ratio in 54 innings while limiting opponents to a .213 average and one homer. Gonzalez avoided arbitration by signing a one-year, $2.35 million contract in January."
"Lillibridge, 23, was one of Pittsburgh's top prospects. A fourth-round pick out of Washington in 2005, he hit a combined .305/.419/.480 with 13 homers, 71 RBIs and 53 steals in 128 games between two Class A stops last year. Lillibridge has the tools to bat at the top of a lineup with a solid bat, gap power, improving plate discipline and plus speed. He has good range and a solid arm at shortstop, and could surface quickly in Atlanta."
Also, McCann was our most valuable hitter this year. Chipper was a close second, even with the missed playing time; in fact, he only had 15 fewer plate appearances than McCann. Renteria was fourth, LaRoche was fifth, and Francoeur wasn't even close. Among all players with 200+ plate appearances, he was easily the worst. I'm still willing to give him a chance, though; hopefully he'll have learned patience by the 2007 season."