If there was ever a day that ultimately justified my piece on baseball writers earlier this month, the Carlos Gomez to New York Mets fiasco summed it all up in one night. Nevertheless, I am here to breakdown the Atlanta Braves, Miami Marlins and Los Angeles Dodgers 13-player swap earlier this week.
I promise I will try to get to the Fantasy perspective first, before breaking down the baseball aspect, and, hopefully, I will not rant too long on my disgust with the Atlanta Braves following this trade. I am still struggling to call myself a Braves fan this morning. Rather than go team by team, for Fantasy purposes, player by player may work better.
- Los Angeles receives LHP Alex Wood, RHP Jim Johnson, LHP Luis Avilan, and Top 50 pre-2015 prospect, according to MLB.com, Jose Peraza from the Atlanta Braves. In addition, the Miami Marlins send the Dodgers RHP Mat Latos and 1B/OF Mike Morse.
- Miami receives RHP Victor Araujo, RHP Jeff Brigham and RHP Kevin Guzman (all from the Dodgers).
- Atlanta receives a 2016 competitive balance round A pick from Miami, along with RHP Zachary Bird, LHP Paco Rodriguez and Cuban second baseman Hector Olivera.
The big “Major League” names involved in the trade are obviously Wood and Latos. Personally, I don’t see much of a Fantasy impact. The biggest boost to their value will come, ideally, in the wins department playing for a better team. However, both already pitched in a fairly pitcher friendly ballpark, and pitcher friendly division for that matter.
Also, pitching for the Dodgers this season, assume he does not wear out his welcome, could give Los Angeles the inside track to sign Latos to an extension. For that reason, Latos’ NL-only keeper value may uptick slightly as well, but that of course, is simply speculation.
Jim Johnson, the other “notable” name and Mike Morse obviously take the biggest Fantasy hit. Johnson’s Fantasy value becomes non-existent as he will now serve in a setup capacity with the Dodgers behind Kenley Jansen, and the Dodgers immediately designated Morse for assignment after the trade and have since sent him to Pittsburgh.
Paco Rodriguez, when healthy, will serve in a similar role with Atlanta, as will Avilan with the Dodgers.
Atlanta Braves new closer
Perhaps the biggest Fantasy impact, and obviously I’m not making some incredible stance by saying this, probably involves a player not even involved in the trade, Arodys Vizcaino. Despite being only 24 years old, it has been an interesting young career for Vizcaino. Finally, though, it appears he will get his chance to flash his live arm for Fantasy relevance, with the expectation that he takes over as the Braves closer, following Johnson’s departure.
The right hander signed with the New York Yankees in 2007, before the Braves acquired him initially in 2009 via trade, and then shipped him to the Chicago Cubs in 2012, before reacquiring him this past offseason for Tommy La Stella. Vizcaino ranked as a Top 100 MLB prospect by Baseball America from 2010-2013, until injuries have somewhat derailed his career forcing him to miss all of the 2012 and 2013 seasons.
Originally tried as a starter with the Yankees and Braves, Vizcaino has been exclusively used as a reliever since returning from injury in 2014 and the results have been very good. Over the course of his minor league career he has a walk rate right at 2.5 and a K/9 rate at 9.5, both very solid numbers for someone that, if he pitches well, could be the next long term closer in Atlanta. For comparisons sake, Craig Kimbrel took over as the Braves closer at age 23 and had a minor league BB/9 rate of 5.7, granted his K/9 rate exceed 14.
For the Miami Marlins, the Latos and Morse portion is a salary dump, similar to Kimbrel and B.J. Upton to San Diego back in April. You can have Latos, but you have to take Morse’s contract, type of deal. Therefore, they did not really need any top prospects, and that is a good thing because they did not receive any.
The lower level prospects, if that’s what you can call them (Araujo, Brigham, Guzman and Bird), do not offer much Fantasy hope down the line.
- Jeff Brigham – 23 years old with a 5.96 ERA in High-A … pass
- Victor Araujo – 22 year old with a 5.40 ERA in High-A. Araujo could at least make it to the Major Leagues, but not as an actual contributor.
- Kevin Guzman – Likely had to be the key for the Marlins in giving up the compensation pick. Guzman, still only 20 years-old, has a 3.90 ERA in 83 innings at Low-A, so he could reach the Majors as a back end starter a long way down the line.
- Zachary Bird – Similar to Guzman, Bird (22 years old) has a lot of time to develop. However, by no means projects close to the type of talent of Wood or Peraza
As for the Dodgers, the trade is obvious. Peraza and Olivera aside, although I will get to them, the Mike Bolsinger, Brandon Beachy, Carlos Frias experiments are over. Wood and Latos slot into the 3-4 parts of the rotation, move Brett Anderson to the five and you keep Julio Urias and Corey Seager. Literally, all Magic Johnson and the Dodgers had to give up were their time and energy to tug on the money tree in their backyard and pay off the Marlins and Braves.
They don’t move any of their top prospects and simply pay off Arroyo’s and Morse’s contracts, while eating $60 million or so on Olivera’s 6-year contract he signed this past offseason. In return, they solve their only real weaknesses in the rotation and middle relief.
Olivera for Peraza
Now we get to the, WHAT, part of the trade. Olivera for Peraza! First, let me just talk this one out. The “rebuilding” Braves acquire a 30-year-old (so he says), unproven middle infielder from Cuba, and in return, send their (perhaps) top hitting prospect to the “win now” Dodgers.
Nope, talking it out did not help. Somebody, anybody, Mr. Hart call me up, somebody explain this to me, because “Lucy, you got some explainin’ to do.” I can get on board with moving Wood if his delivery concerns the higher ups and in addition to a compensation pick you receive a lot of salary relief on Arroyo. So, why throw in the younger infielder?
Since I promised Fantasy perspective first. Olivera’s “re-draft” value takes a huge jump, as he didn’t seem likely to debut with Los Angeles this year, whereas he could come up with the Braves literally any day given Jace Peterson’s struggles. Long term, I don’t see much of an impact whether with Los Angeles or Atlanta.
Peraza, on the other hand, in re-draft leagues, I see very little reason to hold on to him. I thought in Atlanta, if they moved Cameron Maybin, he would debut in center field this year. With Los Angeles, however, as I mentioned they are in “win now” mode, so I don’t see them having any reason to promote him this year. Long term, I think his value takes a hit as well. We saw how sloppily Donnie Baseball handled Dee Gordon; I think Peraza could be a similar case.
The Braves rebuild?
As an Atlanta Braves fan, the rebuild when John Hart took over was difficult to swallow. However, I at least saw the vision. I didn’t love the Jason Heyward deal, as I had not anticipated a rebuild so suddenly, but once they moved Justin Upton, I recognized the direction the team was headed. And, I still thought, given Heyward’s a hometown kid, they could possibly resign him this offseason. In which case picking up Shelby Miller, Tyrell Jenkins and resigning Heyward comes close to the payback for Adam Wainwright back in the day.
With this trade, however, I don’t see the vision and I have no idea the direction of the team. Similar to how I linked the Heyward move with the Upton move, I link this move to the Kimbrel move in early April and I’m just baffled. The Heyward and Upton deals simply said, “we do not intend to compete this year, however we are looking towards 2017 when the new ballpark opens.”
At that point, the young talent will have developed and set the team up better to compete with the Washington Nationals, New York Mets and Miami Marlins. Kimbrel would be approaching the final year or two of his contract, so might as well move him while his values at its peak and give a young reliever time to develop into the role.
That’s fine, I understand that, I can get on board with that. My simple question to the Atlanta Braves brass: Are you in rebuild, or are you in “we got our new stadium so now let’s cut as many corners as possible?” Now, you have moved on from Kimbrel, and yet, I assume given the acquisition of a second baseman on the wrong side of 30, seem back on the mindset of competing next year.
By 2017, the unproven, Cuban second baseman you craved so much will be turning 32, at least that is what we are led to believe. Whereas, Peraza would be turning 23 and finally nearing his prime years. Unless the next two off-seasons bring in bountiful acquisitions to get excited about, I think Braves fans should truly reconsider their alliance.
Long story short, in one trade the Atlanta Braves hurt their current team and future team all to unload Bronson Arroyo’s contract. A contract, mind you, they should have never taken on to begin with. Congratulations to Los Angeles and Miami for taking advantage. John Hart, when do you return to the MLB Network Studio? I think that’s where you belong.
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