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.