The Atlanta Braves are close to accomplishing at least part of their winter goal of adding two front-line starting pitchers: The Braves and Chicago White Sox have agreed in principle to a six-player deal that will send pitcher Javier Vazquez to the Braves, CBSSports.com has confirmed.
The deal is not expected to be finalized until later Wednesday because it's pending Vazquez passing a physical examination. But a source with knowledge of the deal confirmed that, if the medicals are approved, Vazquez and reliever Boone Logan will be traded to the Braves for infielder Brent Lillibridge, minor-league catcher Tyler Flowers and two low-level minor leaguers, left-handed pitcher Santos Rodriguez and third baseman Jon Gilmore. Atlanta pitcher Jo-Jo Reyes, though discussed, is not in the deal, sources said.
Vazquez went 12-16 with a 4.67 ERA for the White Sox in 2008 and worked 200+ innings for the fourth consecutive season -- and for the eighth time in nine years.
With John Smoltz and Tim Hudson both on the shelf with injuries, and with Mike Hampton having signed with Houston on Monday, Vazquez, 32, immediately will become the elder statesman in a rotation that right now projects to include Jair Jurrjens, Jorge Campillo, Charlie Morton and Reyes.
Meantime, White Sox general manager Kenny Williams appears to have several things going on parallel paths this winter as he works to accomplish his stated goal of changing a veteran, power-oriented club into one that is both younger and more athletic.
Lillibridge, who came to Atlanta from Pittsburgh in the 2007 Mike Gonzalez trade, will add middle-infield depth for the White Sox, who are searching for either a shortstop to replace Orlando Cabrera -- or a second baseman, if they shift Alexei Ramirez from second to short.
Additionally, trading Vazquez saves the White Sox $23 million over 2009 and 2010.
The Braves devoted six weeks and two days toward attempting to complete that trade and, in the final hours before pulling out of the talks, thought they were about to close the deal.
The Padres, though, continued to change the names they were requesting, according to sources. And just when San Diego was expected to request that the pitcher waive his no-trade clause in a deal that would have sent pitcher Charlie Morton, shortstop Yunel Escobar, reliever Blaine Boyer and minor-league outfielder Gorkys Hernandez to the Padres, the San Diego front-office shifted yet again.
Frustrated, the Braves finally pulled out of the talks and turned their attention elsewhere.
That included the free-agent market, where they are aggressively pursuing A.J. Burnett -- and, now we know, a stop on the South Side of Chicago, where they scooped up Vazquez.