I sort of like the #Braves trade

It seems like a lot to give up. Alex Wood has a career 3.10 ERA and won’t be eligible for free agency until 2020. Jose Peraza is, according to many evaluators, the Braves’ top prospect. Jim Johnson and Luis Avilan are solid bullpen arms.

The return isn’t what you’d expect. Hector Olivera is a right-handed hitting 3B with a sweet swing and questionable health. Paco Rodriguez is a left-handed reliever who, if healthy, is better than Avilan. But he has’t been healthy for a few years.

But did the Braves give up that much? Wood has regressed, and the decline in his peripherals is even more striking. He’s gone from an averaging 8.9 K/9 IP from 2013-14 to 6.8 this year. He’s given up two more hits per 9 this year than last, and his WHIP has risen from 1.142 to 1.408.

Batters are making more contact against him than they ever have at the major league level. Year-over-year, his outside of the zone contact and zone contact percentages have increased:

2013: O-Contact% 60.4%, Z-Contact% 85%
2014: O-Contact% 63%, Z-Contact% 86.8%
2015: O-Contact% 74.1%, Z-Contact% 91.4%

Then there’s that delivery, and the fact he’s already undergone one Tommy John surgery.

Peraza can hit, but can he hit enough to overcome Chris Johnson-like walk levels? He’s drawn just 32 bases on balls since the beginning of 2014, and even though he’s batting .295 this year his OBP is lower than Andrelton’s. He’s stolen 25 bases, down from 60 a year ago (in 15 more games). More alarming are the 19 errors he’s made in 81 games at second base.

I’d rate Ozhaino Albies ahead of Peraza at this point. Albies is only 18 but has shown much more plate maturity than Peraza, walking 33 times and showing surprising power, with 20 doubles and 8 triples. He’s also considered superior defensively.

Olivera is at least as much of an injury risk as Wood, but his potential is far greater. But he is 30 years old and will be under contract for the next five years. But if he produces as expected, his $32 million salary will be a steal. The Yankees paid $20 million more for a 30-year-old Chase Headley (career ,753 OPS). Olivera is a lifetime 323 hitter with a .407 OBP and .504 slugging percentage. It would be overly optimistic to expect him to repeat those numbers, but good luck finding a plus bat who plays the hot corner and bats from the right side.

Rodriguez has barely pitched the last two years and is currently rehabbing from surgery to remove loose debris from his throwing elbow. But he’s been terrific when healthy, allowing 55 hits in 85 innings and striking out more than a batter per inning. Paco has held lefties to a .174 BA.

The Braves received question marks but dealt some, too. I’m surprised the Braves couldn’t have gotten more, but, if Olivera stays healthy, John Hart just filled a major need.

Unfortunately, the Phils did better in trading Cole Hamels to Texas for a package including three of the top 100 prospects in the game.

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10 comments

  1. I love the trade also.The one thing we have a lot of is young pitchers and as much as I love Wood we need a few bats. People are worked up about this guys age but we will have him for the prime of his career at a discounted price. He also fits into the new philosophy of average and OBP guys.

  2. Solid post.

    Finally a breath of fresh air. Braves fans are the most irrational fan base in all of baseball. Primary because i think they are struggling with coming to grips with new ownership not being able to muscle around as much.

    I have been an avid fan through it all and firmly believe the front office is a good mindset as evidemced by the majority of he trades the team has made this year.

    As far as this trade is concerned, the braves at worst will lose it, but no chance they were fleeced. Its nowhere near on the scale of other epic disasters i have personally witnessed.

    The backlash of losing Wood will hit harder on braves fans centrally located with Georgia ties. He was certainly a fan favorite, but its a far cry from a terrible loss in the long term.

    Wood has most certainly shown a drop in a variety of areas u have researched. While i think he is a good starter, it would be a stretch to put him into elite categories which the majority of the fanbase will. Im much more pleased to see him go over a Teheran that has tje upside, but may just be struggling with growing pains.

    Peraza is interesting. Prospects always are, but thats the problem. Looking at it from a rational point of view..if stolen bases was all that exciting for us we dealt from a surplus in terms of prospects.

    I think he can be a good hitter, but i have major concerns about his walk rate in terms of what braves fans expect him to be. A leadoff hitter / catalyst.

    There can be no doubt that this clearly is an alarming statememt about what the braves really think about peraza as a prospect. And to be honest, i’m not all that surprised, but more thrilled. As I have long felt his evaluation was a bit over-played in the Atanta media especially.

    The thing i like about Olivera is all i can really go on. The braves recruited and invested a lot of time in this player. That gives me a lot of comfort. It wasnt a rash decision to grab a bat to compete. They clearly have a strong opinion on this player’s outlook. And competing now can’t be any part of the equation in that decision.

    Acquiring him for a very affordable price also provides the braves with more options. If he does work out, they could flip him to a contender in a year or two for a nice return too. See Coespedes.

    At the end of the day, as far Olivera is concerned..braves desperately need an impact bat. Those are nearly unobtainable in a rebuild outside of a prospect. So they are getting something in between that they have paperwork on. I’m on board for sure with him.

    The rest of the deal is fine. I love paco if he can stay on the diamond. We will see.

    Bird can throw a mean fastball. You never know..guys like this could come out of nowhere and throw the whole trade valuation for a loop. I like it.

    My only gripe with the braves this year is lots of acquisitions of injured players. We will see how that pans out.

    At the end of the day, i love Coppalella and Hart can make thimgs happen. Its a very interesting front office situation. One that i find quite enjoyable.

    Im at least entertained for tjis first time in over a decade. Creativity is back.

    Cheers,

  3. I don’t this trade yielded the value it should have. But they were going nowhere and now they’ve stockpiled a lot of pitching and a couple of more bats. I think the Padres and Mets trades are better than this Dodger trade. Of course none of us will know if we’re right for at least 2 years.

  4. Excuse me, but the Braves just traded three capable major league pitchers (all with ERAs under 3.60), plus their top position player prospect, for an injury-prone 30-year-old power hitter who hasn’t played in the majors, a pitcher who’s basically missed the last 2 seasons and just had elbow surgery, and a pretty lightly regarded pitcher who’s putting up numbers in high-A that compare disfavorably to those of the guys they traded were posting in the majors. That’s a pathetic return. (The Indians, for example, just got a top power-hitting prospect for a guy hitting .214.) And the team now has no trade chips left, unless it becomes a team that’s constantly moving players still under team control in hopes of somehow getting better. I fully expect this off-season for them to shop Freeman around, not because they don’t like him, but because he’s one of the few players of any value left on the roster.

    I understand the criticism of Wood, with his regression this season and his faulty mechanics, and with the depth of young pitching in the system, he was expendable. And I know that Peraza’s lack of plate discipline and defensive mediocrity indicate he was probably overrated. But we’ve seen what Jace Peterson can do playing regularly, and it’s not much. He’s a career backup, only the Braves’ lineup is so awful he’s playing regularly. Peraza seemed to be a viable near-term solution at second base and leadoff hitter. So what are the Braves going to do with those spots now? Mallex Smith is hitting .221 at Gwinnett, and Albies isn’t going to play regularly in the majors before 2017.

    We all know the answer, unfortunately. They’re going to roll out even more garbage. Until Oliveira shows something, they have a black hole at third base (Garcia’s a nice story but probably not a guy to count on over the long haul), to go along with those at second base and left field, as well as catcher after this season. In case you haven’t noticed, the offense is already a disaster — 4 runs in 3 games in a hitters’ park is the latest evidence — and the bullpen, already baseball’s worst, is now markedly worse. I doubt this pile-of-crap team wins much more than 20 games over the last two months of the season.

    But the horrifying reality is that the outlook for next season is even grimmer. How will the Braves possibly be better next season? They have nobody left to trade. They have no money to spend on free agents. And too many of their top prospects, especially position players (Smith, Albies, Ruiz) are too far away from the majors. I can’t see how the Braves are not a 110-loss team next year, nor can I foresee when they may again be at least mediocre. But hey, starting in 2017, they’ll have a new stadium in a suburban strip mall! Yee-haw!

    What they won’t have is hope. This trade extinguished it.

  5. It’s all dependent on Olivera. if he produces Braves will have something they wouldn’t be able to get — a right-handed hitting 3B. I think it makes them better next year, and they’ll have some money to spend. I’m looking on the bright side but a year from now I’m not sure Woord and/or Peraza will have that much value.

  6. I was actually quite happy when the Dodgers signed Olivera instead of the Braves. 2nd basemen tend to fall off a cliff production-wise in their 30’s. That was before I heard that he had a bad elbow. Now they’re trading good players (Wood, Avilan, Johnson) plus their number one prospect for him?

    I don’t like this deal at all. Odds are, the guys going to L.A. won’t be GREAT, but I think the return could’ve been better than two injured guys, a question mark and a draft pick.

  7. When I heard what we were giving up I was sure Puig was coming back. CB is right about this deal depending on Olivera. If he really is a stud 3b with pop this could look good in a year. We certainly aren’t short on good young pitchers. We could be looking like the mets in a few years with a stud staff but short on quality position players. This seems like a move to prevent something like that from happening.

    Olivera might be 30, but he’s putting up some stupid numbers in the minors. He could probably help us right now.

  8. I’m still bummed about dumping Kimbrel to dump B.J.

    Teheran will go tomorrow. Then all we’ll have left from the old regime is Freddie, Simmons and Chris Johnson. Always Chris Johnson.

  9. Somebody mentioned the Braves have no money to spend in ’16. They have left than $60 million committed to players under contract for next year. They only have 2 arbitration eligible players of note (Miller and Vizcaino). There may not be anyone worth spending it on in the free agent market, but they will have money to spend going forward.

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