Mallex trade shows #Braves blind spot

The trade of Mallex Smith and Shae Simmons netted the Braves another pitching prospect with a high upside (and questionable medicals). You can rest assured that Touki Toussaint, Kolby Allard, Max Fried and Sean Newcomb won’t all be aces. They’ll be lucky if one becomes a stud. Tommy Hanson was a bigger prospect, and we saw how that worked out. ranks Luiz Gohara as the 7th best pitching prospect in the organization, though, as Ken Rosenthal reports, some scouts think he’s better than that.

Giving up Gohara, worst move EVER!!” the first scout said

“Best pitcher in the Arizona Fall League,” the second scout said, adding that he saw Gohara throw 97 to 100 mph in an outing late in the AFL season.

But Gohara comes with additional risk — the Reds were going to trade Zack Cozart for Gohara and another prospect but backed out over concerns about the southpaw’s shoulder. Coppy said the Braves feel good about Gohara’s health. They said the same thing about Manny Banuelos.

Smith and Simmons come with less risk. DOB says you can have too many outfielders, but not too many pitchers. Will he be saying that if Markakis or Kemp or Inciarte goes on the DL? Who replaces them — Jeff Francoeur?

Markakis and Kemp could benefit from taking off 15 to 20 games apiece, and if you sit Inciarte another 10 games that would give Mallex roughly 50 starts. When not starting he’d make an excellent defensive replacement for Kemp, or a weapon on the base paths in the late innings. Best-case scenario: Mallex becomes what Deion was to the ’92 Braves (14 triples, 26 SB in 97 games).

Simmons, meanwhile, comes with his own injury risks, though he was clocked at 95.9 MPH after returning from Tommy John surgery. The Braves bullpen is weakened by his departure.

Of course, if Gohara turns into C.C. Sabathia, as some project, the trade will be a rousing success. But what are the odds that happens?

Not as good as the odds that Smith and Simmons turn into useful parts, with five years of team control each.


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