Stop me if this sounds familiar. A mid-20s middle infielder loses the faith of the Atlanta Braves organization and is sent packing, making him a classic change of scenery guy.

Yup, I will call this Yunel Escobar trade “Kelly Johnson Part 2.” Now of course the biggest difference between Escobar and Johnson is that Johnson left as a free agent after he wasn’t tendered a contract. With Escobar, the Braves got something in return.

Escobar is headed north of the border.

Yesterday, the Braves traded Escobar and LHP Jo-Jo Reyes to the Toronto Blue Jays for SS Alex Gonzalez, LHP Tim Collins, and INF Tyler Pastornicky. How fast do you think Blue Jays’ GM Alex Anthopoulos pulled the trigger on this trade? 15 seconds? 20 seconds?

I understand Escobar can be maddening for a manager and is having a down year (.238 with zero HR’s in 261 AB’s), but I can’t believe the Braves gave up on him this quickly. Did they learn nothing from letting Johnson go?

Escobar is under the Blue Jays’ control for another three years and will move right into the starting SS spot in Toronto. My gut tells me that Escobar will have a solid second half for the Jays and will have a 2011 that resembles his 2009 season (.299 with 14 HR and a .377 OBP).

The Jays also received Reyes in this deal. He is still only 25 and can be turned into a serviceable LHP at the major league level with the right coaching.

This trade represented the best case scenario for the Blue Jays in the offseason. Sign Gonzalez to a pretty affordable contract ($2.75 million), watch him have a career first half, and then trade him to get max value.

The Braves made this trade because they were clearly tired of Escobar and are in win now mode. Gonzalez hit 17 HR in the first half, which was four more than any other SS in baseball. The Braves are hoping he carries his hot first half over into the second half.

Defensively, the Braves don’t lose much on this deal, as Gonzalez has been, and continues to be, one of the better defensive shortstops in the game. I watched him on a pretty consistent basis last year with the Boston Red Sox and he is pretty slick with the glove.

The Braves also received INF Tyler Pastornicky in the trade. Pastornicky is 20 years old and was the Blue Jays’ fifth round pick in the 2008 draft. He was hitting .258 with six home runs in 287 AB for High-A Dunedin this year. He could be the Braves’ starting SS in four to five years.

Tim Collins is a 155 lbs. left-handed pitcher who has whiffed 73 in 43 innings for Double-A New Hampshire this season. He projects as a middle relief pitcher for the Braves.

For me, the Blue Jays got the better of this trade on paper. Even if the Braves are in win now mode, I just can’t see Gonzalez putting up anywhere close to the numbers he did in the first half.

Good trade for the Blue Jays.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg.

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