The Little Deals of the Rebuild (Part 1) – Updated

This post was originally written last offseason, but with another year that’s passed, some trades look a little different:

1. Tommy La Stella for Arodys Vizcaino

This trade continues to look favorable for the Braves. Vizzy had another strong year as a late-inning reliever for the Braves. He’s still not quite the Closer(TM) that the Braves have thought they were trading for (twice). But he enters his age-28 season, Jim Johnson is no longer with the team, and until AJ Minter asserts his dominance over the 9th inning, Vizzy should have a hold on the closer role.

2. Anthony Varvaro for Aaron Kurcz and Cash

This trade hasn’t changed. Maybe the Braves put the money in a good growth-stock mutual fund, but other than that, this hasn’t helped or hurt the Braves at all.

3. David Carpenter and Chasen Shreve for Manny Banuelos

Banuelos was released in 2016, so there’s nothing more to report there other than he had a lackluster year for the Angels’ AAA affiliate. David Carpenter is out of baseball. Chasen Shreve continues to be an inconsistent but mostly effective reliever for New York, though even though Banuelos never worked, this was a risk worth making.

4. Kyle Kubitza for Nate Hyatt and Ricardo Sanchez

Kubitza is 27 and most likely will never appear in the big leagues again (short cup of coffee in 2015 didn’t go well), but Ricardo Sanchez still continues to both dazzle and disappointed. Now 20 years old, the Braves actually put him on the 40-man to protect him from Rule 5. So, yes, he’s been around long enough to need protection, but he’s still young enough to deserve his prospect status and intrigue in his left-handedness and high-90s fastball. Probably a reliever in the Braves’ plans, but he’s still just as valuable of a lottery ticket as he was 3 years ago.

5. David Hale and Gus “Pickles” Schlosser for Jose Briceno and Chris O’Dowd

All of these players have not done anything of significance, and all but Briceno is out of baseball.

6. Alberto Callaspo, Juan Jaime, Eric Stults, and Ian Thomas for Juan Uribe and Chris Withrow

The Braves got some mileage out of Chris Withrow, but he was DFA’ed last offseason and appear in the major leagues this past season.

7. Phil Gosselin for Touki Toussaint and Bronson Arroyo

The star of the show here is Touki, and he continues to be a top prospect the Braves are excited about. Now 21 years old, he struggled at A+, but after being promoted to AA, he pitched very well for a then 20 year old by putting in a 3.18 ERA in 7 GS with a 10.0 K/9 and low HR and hit totals. Still walking too many (5/9), but

8. In separate deals, Cody Martin, Caleb Dirks, Jordan Paroubeck, Garret Fulencheck, and Aaron Kurcz for International Bonus Pool Money

The international bonus pool money was used to land Derian Cruz and Cristian Pache. Pache was ranked as the #57th prospect in all of baseball by Keith Law, and while his power is still almost non-existent, he is an exciting prospect who has 4 tools right now. If their young bodies can develop some power, both of these prospects could be exciting, especially Pache.

9. Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe for John Gant and Rob Whalen

Gant and Whalen went on to new teams as a result of subsequent trades. Whalen had a real down year in Seattle’s system (6.58 ERA at AAA), and Gant had a mediocre year at AAA and was sub-replacement level for St. Louis at the big league level in 17 IP. Whalen is only 23, so he’s still intriguing, but Gant is 25 and the league may not be as tricked by his delivery as some thought it would be.

10. Chris Johnson for Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher, and Cash

This trade was meant to open up player payroll in 2017. You could say that the money saved was used towards the efforts of acquiring R.A. Dickey, Bartolo Colon, and Jaime Garcia.

To be continued…

41 thoughts on “The Little Deals of the Rebuild (Part 1) – Updated”

  1. While I like this type of post mortem analysis and your post is great all 10 of these deals or ever how many of them there were did almost nothing. Had almost no long term impact on the franchise and are basically just swapping deck chairs.

  2. Accelerating the Bourn/Swisher money led to us spending like 20 to 30M last year on bad pitching and we parlayed that into an A-ball lotto ticket pitcher in the Jaime Garcia deal. Definitely one of the highlights of “the rebuild”.

  3. On Hot Stove this morning, Jonathan Mayo said the Braves have the number one farm system and listed Luiz Gohara as the second most likely prospect (someone still eligible to win ROY) to have a major impact at the MLB level this year. When– if — we start to win again, this rebuild will glisten more.

  4. We could do with more Soroka discussion.

    I don’t think the Derek Lowe comparisons do him any favors when it comes to generating hype from Braves fans. That’s obviously not the most exciting type of pitcher anyway.

    But if Soroka pans out the way Lowe did in his pre-FA years, that would be enormous for the rebuild and quite a good outcome.

  5. Good stuff, Rob!

    I’d like to cheer and congratulate Chipper Jones on his election to the HOF. The voting totals reflect how well he deserved it.

    I saw him play in person only 4 times, but each time shines in my memory.
    Even the last one, a pitch hit appearance that resulted in a fly out. His intensity at the plate unnerved the reliever and it was a 10 pitch AB.

    “Chopper to Chipper”, Skip always said. A good way of saying “You’re out!”

  6. I grew up in northeast Florida, and loved Chipper since I was really little. He was the first autographed ball that I’d gotten, and I even smiled like him during my 3rd grade picture. I don’t know why. Played my last high school game against his HS (Bolles). I, like Kevin, probably only saw him play a handful of times, but the last time I saw him was here:

    You guys probably remember this game, actually. Halladay vs. Hanson, and Hanson was chased early. Braves got down 6, tied it up, and then it was a see-saw game until the 11th inning:

    That was the last time I saw him play. Unreal.

  7. I’m one who thinks the Marlins got a really solid haul for Yelich, but nothing unbelievable. It would have been a tough price to pay with where we are, so I’m glad we didn’t make the deal. They didn’t get a player as good as Acuna, but Brinson is not far behind, and the rest of the deal was really good for Miami. If we didn’t give up Acuna, then we’d have looked at 2+ elite pitching prospects and maybe up to 2 other strong prospects. I’m not sure if I’m yet buying into using future value grades as a way of providing a consistent baseline for trade evaluations on the whole, but looking at those analyses, I think that’s where we end up.

  8. Oh, and with the Cain deal, I think it’s safe to say that the market is just simply delayed, not depressed. That’s a lot of money for a 31-year old speedster.

  9. @11

    …a lot of time also.

    said Lorenzo Cain
    when asked to explain
    the intricacies of his new deal
    the heck with them, i can now be just as old as i feel.

  10. South of Jacksonville. Keystone Heights High School. Little town between Jacksonville and Gainesville. Did you live in the area?

  11. The last time i saw Chipper was at the Ted against the Giants in a game Buster had already put away. I was on my way out, stopped when i realized the import of the moment, and hitting left handed he hit it out over the left field wall. Perfect.

    The first time was traumatic, albeit ‘only’ on TV. That first Spring Training game when he wrecked his knee so comprehensively running out a ground ball.

    Tears, idle tears, i know not what they mean. But i did. More cheerfully, who can remember the opponent that day? I believe it was the Yankees.

  12. Going back to the Andruw discussion on the last thread, the fact that they’ve given No. 25 to a bunch of chumps since Andruw left while not giving anyone Nos. 10, 29, 31 or 47 after those guys left is another good sign that they’ve never had any intention of retiring Andruw’s number.

    I present to you a list of the clearly worthy (yes, that was sarcasm) players who have held down No. 25 since Andruw left: Barbaro Canizares, Ryan Church, Troy Glaus, Juan Francisco, Joey Terdoslavich, Christian Bethancourt, Cameron Maybin (who at least played well as a Brave) and Tyler Flowers.

  13. Re: retiring #25, I bet Braves fans have more power in this situation than we might imagine.

    The idea of a campaign to #retire25 appeals to me because, if the ultimate goal is to get Andruw in the HOF, it’ll take lots of fans who’ve already been mobilized and have tasted success. Getting Andruw’s number retired seems like a good first step.

    I can envision an online visibility effort across Braves blogs. We could do an Andruw highlights tournament like we did for Andrelton.

    I do wonder if Tyler Flowers has any special attachment to #25. He was #21 on the White Sox. It would be very helpful to know if he or any current/former Braves would be willing to participate. Obviously, we’d need to know what the deal is with the Braves and Andruw. Something must be up.

  14. JS on MLB Network Radio yesterday implied that Andruw was lazy by saying something to the effect of “he had a favorable contract situation and his performance suffered.” Thanks, John. But that probably tells you something about the relationship there.

  15. He should have signed with us. So there.

    Christian Yelich
    is most unlikely to relish
    a night out in Dahmerville
    for others, a vicarious thrill.

    ‘Wasting away again in Dahmerville’.

  16. Rob, Heights?

    When we moved to Volusia county- just down the road- I was taken to the first tee at the local country club and told 14 feet, the highest point of the county. All the locals now will be busy building their getaway boats, ready for the Big Day.

  17. My 15 seconds of fame came when I caught a foul ball from Chipper in the club level by leaning way over the railing. Chipper stopped in his at bat to admire my catch and later I got a recording of the entire event from someone who had recorded the game. Me and Chipper both on TV within seconds of each other. I carried that ball to every game I attended after that just in case I got a chance to get Chipper to autograph it. Alas, it sits among my autographed ball collection today with no autograph of its own but it’s still one of my favorite pieces of memorabilia.

  18. Rob, I enjoy these kinds of posts. I noticed the #7 entry was incomplete.

    Last time I saw Chipper was the first series in his last year, in Houston, and he hit his first homer of the year. Great moment for me.

  19. I heard about how great Chipper was and I saw him in a AA game against the Huntsville Stars. He played shortstop and he went 0 for 3 with a walk and an error. With my amazing scouting ability I figured he would be a flop. I’m glad I was wrong. I was really wrong!

  20. Yeah I saw him not long into his debut year with Macon playing my beloved and now defunct Spartanburg Phillies. Made 2 errors on really bad throws. Glove was fine but accuracy with the arm not so much then. Remember reading then that he would pick the ball thinking the runner was moving like they did in HS and would look up and see that he was already behind on making the throw so he rushed it. Needless to say, he worked it out, but the defense was pretty brutal that first season.

  21. The non-roster invites include Acuna, Allard, Soroka, and Wright. I would imagine Soroka, Allard, or Wright could show enough in Spring Training to make Atlanta trade one of our SPs to make room for one of them at some point this season. Be able to trade one of our SPs for a position player (like the speculated “Teheran or Folty for Milwaukee’s Phillips or Santana” trades) would really give this season a bit more hope.

  22. Touki and Sanchez may yet have a positive effect on the team. Whalen was traded to Seattle in the Alex Jackson deal so we have some high hopes there as well. Viz is a perfectly average closer. That’s actually a lot of potential impact from deals of this caliber.

  23. George Poulis
    graduated Naval Academy, Annapoulis
    athletically inclined
    Blue Jays/Braves, like so many others he simply doesn’t mind.

  24. Ha…yeah, except they beiged it up to fit in with our new location in suburbia.

    I wonder what CarGo would cost. He looked better in September, and as buy low candidates go, the upside is intriguing.

  25. People who don’t approve of what’s being done to this team. That thing is born out of neglect and despair. The mere sight of it drains the soul.

  26. Yeah. Blooper is a cry for help. Someone needs to intervene and force a sale of this team. OMG I can’t believe this is even real.

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