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Braves get Renteria, trade Marte12/08/2005 2:51 PM ET
By Mark Bowman / MLB.com
DALLAS -- Braves general manager John Schuerholz came to the Winter Meetings looking for a shortstop. He exited with the joyful exuberance created by the completion of a trade that enabled him to acquire a man some believe is the game's finest shortstop.
While utilizing due diligence in the attempt to replace Rafael Furcal, Schuerholz found a shortstop who just one year ago was one of the prize catches on the free agent market.
Late Thursday morning, the Braves announced the completion of a trade with the Red Sox, who are sending Edgar Renteria and $11 million to Atlanta in exchange for top prospect Andy Marte.
"We are delighted with this," Schuerholz said. "It fills a significant hole in our club that was created by the loss of [Furcal]. ... Some people in the baseball industry like this guy better than any shortstop, whoever you want to name."
Schuerholz had been attempting to complete this deal for the past couple of days and finally was able to do so near midnight on Wednesday, after the Braves received the amount of cash they were seeking from the Red Sox, who just last year signed Renteria to a four-year, $40 million contract.
"We had a significant gap to fill, and we believe we have done that with a real classy, real talented four-time All-Star shortstop," Schuerholz said. "This is a very significant move for us."
Renteria is owed $26 million over the next three seasons and has an $11 million option with a $3 million buyout clause for the 2009 season. He also is still owed a $3 million signing bonus and has incentive bonuses for Gold Glove Awards, Silver Slugger Awards and All-Star Game appearances.
With the money provided by the Red Sox, the Braves are essentially paying the veteran shortstop a minimum of $21 million over the next three years. This would change slightly if he reaches any of his incentive bonuses.
In other words, they are paying Renteria a lower salary than they would have paid Furcal if he'd accepted their four-year, $32 million offer, which might have increased if he hadn't accepted the three-year, $39 million offer provided by the Dodgers.
Acquiring a player of Renteria's caliber forced the Braves to dip into their fertile farm system and say goodbye to Marte, who hit .278 with 20 homers at Triple-A Richmond this past season. The 22-year-old third baseman is considered by many to be one of the top prospects in all of baseball.
"As painful as it is to trade a player of Marte's caliber, it needed to be done," Schuerholz said.
Chipper Jones' decision to rework his contract not only provided additional financial resources for the Braves, but it also ensured that he'll be in Atlanta for at least the next three seasons. Jones has no desire to move from third base, which is the only position Marte has proven capable of playing.
"I think [Marte] can play in the big leagues right now," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "Unfortunately, he's a third baseman and so is Chipper Jones."
While Marte has the potential to be a big-league superstar, Renteria has already reached that level. Before hitting .276 with eight homers and committing a career-high 30 errors this past season, Renteria had established himself as one of the game's best shortstops.