White Sox and Braves complete Vazquez trade

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ATLANTA - Javier Vazquez knows exactly what the Atlanta Braves were looking for when they traded for him: A durable starter to plug one of the holes in their uncertain rotation.

Vazquez was shipped from the Chicago White Sox to Atlanta on Thursday as the teams completed a six-player deal agreed to earlier in the week. Left-handed reliever Boone Logan also went to the Braves as part of the swap, while the White Sox acquired four prospects: catcher Tyler Flowers, infielders Jonathan Gilmore and Brent Lillibridge and left-handed pitcher Santos Rodriguez.

"Hopefully, I can bring a consistent guy to the rotation, someone who can just take the ball every five days and give his team a chance to win," Vazquez said. "That's what they're expecting of me and that's what I'm expecting of myself, to put up innings for the Braves."

Vazquez was 12-16 with a 4.67 ERA in 33 starts for the AL Central champion White Sox this season, surpassing 200 innings for the eighth time in nine years. But he struggled down the stretch, when manager Ozzie Guillen said Vazquez wasn't a big-game pitcher. In his last three regular-season starts and the playoff opener against Tampa Bay, Vazquez was 0-4 with a 13.22 ERA.

"I just always try to move forward and just go on with my life, I guess," Vazquez said. "I really like to be a positive guy and show a positive side to other people. I really try to stay away from the negativity."

The 32-year-old right-hander has a 127-129 career record with Montreal, the New York Yankees, Arizona and the White Sox. He is owed $11.5 million in each of the next two seasons, then can become a free agent.

"I've been kind of a power pitcher for most of my career, a fly ball pitcher," Vazquez said. "Coming to a stadium like Atlanta, which plays fair, is a little bit better ballpark to pitch in than Chicago. I think that's probably going to help me."

White Sox general manager Ken Williams said the trade was part of his team's effort to bring in young players. He said he was obviously "watching the dollars, but this deal was motivated by a continued desire to transition into a new core."

The Braves have made starting pitching their major focus of the offseason. John Smoltz and Tom Glavine are both in their 40s and coming off arm operations, and Tim Hudson is not expected back until late in the season after undergoing elbow ligament replacement surgery.

Atlanta pursued Padres ace Jake Peavy, who still hasn't been traded, and had hoped to re-sign injury-prone Mike Hampton before he completed a deal with Houston this week.

"Especially after I started hearing rumors a while back, I guess I was expecting a move. I was glad it was here to Atlanta. This has always been one of my favorites," Vazquez said.

The Braves are still looking for at least one more front-line pitcher, and free agent A.J. Burnett is now their top target. They are among the teams that have made an offer to the right-hander.

"That would be awesome," Vazquez said. "Any team would like to have him."

Logan was 2-3 with a 5.95 ERA in 55 appearances with the White Sox in 2008. He has a 4-4 record with a 5.87 ERA in 144 games over three seasons with Chicago.

The 6-foot-4, 248-pound Flowers, who is 22, gained attention when he hit 12 homers in 20 games in the Arizona Fall League. He batted .288 with 17 homers at Class A Myrtle Beach last season.

"I think this guy will be an All-Star catcher," Williams said, adding the White Sox had no plans to move him to another position. "For his size, he has a lot of agility behind the plate and he throws the ball extremely well. ... I think he will be a heck of an offensive catcher and a solid defensive catcher behind the plate."

Lillibridge hit .200 in 80 at-bats with Atlanta last season. He spent most of the season with Triple-A Richmond, batting .220.

Gilmore, a third baseman, batted .294 with four homers and 35 RBIs in 94 games with Advanced Rookie Danville and Class-A Rome in 2008.

The 6-foot-5 Rodriguez was 1-2 with a 2.79 ERA in 14 relief appearances with the Gulf Coast League Braves in 2008.

Williams said he didn't foresee another major deal as he heads off to the winter meetings, which begin Monday in Las Vegas.

Earlier this offseason, the White Sox dealt Nick Swisher and right-hander Kaneoka Texeira to the New York Yankees for pitching prospect Jeff Marquez, infielder Wilson Betemit and minor league pitcher Jhonny Nunez.

The White Sox also hope to finalize a deal with young Cuban star Dayan Viciedo.

With the departure of Vazquez, Chicago's starting rotation could feature Mark Buehrle, John Danks, Gavin Floyd, Clayton Richard and Marquez. Veteran right-hander Jose Contreras is coming off a ruptured Achilles'.

"We've got good, veteran players who continue to produce year after year. If I had to guess as I sit there right now, I don't foresee any other movements with any of our other veteran players," Williams said, adding he will be in more of a listening mode at the winter meetings than an aggressive one.

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DodgeD50
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DodgeD50 12/04/08 - 09:08 pm
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It doesn't matter who the

It doesn't matter who the braves trade for, they have always been and always be LOSERS

sneakypete
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sneakypete 12/04/08 - 09:20 pm
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shut up dodge 50. Anybody

shut up dodge 50. Anybody driving a dodge 50 is a real loser. The Braves only won how many Div championships in a row? That being said, this is not a good trade. We're trading out top batting prospect in Flowers for a pitcher thats getting a bit long in the tooth when you look at innings pitched.

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