Trade Deadline Roundup – The Bullpen

We kept hearing rumors that the Braves would be looking for relievers over starters the closer it got to the deadline. First, we traded Kolby Allard for Chris Martin. Then Peanut obviously knew something because he said they were pursuing Shane Greene. And about 30 minutes after that trade was announced, the Braves announced they traded for Mark Melancon. In a span of 18 hours, the Braves completely transformed their bullpen.

Even though they took back a decent amount of salary, they essentially kept pace with other teams who added payroll at the deadline. So according to Spotrac, they sit with a 14th-ranked payroll with minimal ability to acquire for the remainder of the season. Added to the payroll was Melancon’s $4.5M remaining, Greene’s $1.2M remaining, and Martin’s $750K remaining. This keeps them slightly above league average payroll.

But now the bullpen is largely solidified barring injury or release for the next month. The existing bullpen immediately becomes part of a portion of the pen that will be used in lower leverage. Melancon, Greene, and Martin all become your highest leverage options in the late innings. Luke Jackson, Sean Newcomb, and Anthony Swarzak all will get some rest, and will slide down the rungs of leverage a little bit. Finally. As great as those guys have been, reinforcements were more than necessary.

And more importantly, in the heat of a pennant race, you’re not transitioning starters in AAA to pitchers at the big league level. You’re not playing the Gwinnett shuffle, you’re not having to evaluate young pitchers in short sample, and you’re not throwing unproven pitchers into the highest leverage situations of their lives. With Melancon and Greene, you have two truly proven late-inning commodities, and Martin has his own experience as well.

This also shows that Alex Anthopoulos thinks very highly of our infield. Pretty much all of AA’s trade acquisitions since last deadline have been guys with above average groundball rates. Jonny Venters, Kevin Gausman, Melancon, Greene, and Martin are all above 50%. Brad Brach is the lone exception amongst guys traded for.

In terms of leverage, this is how I see the pen shaking out going forward:

Shane Greene -> Mark Melancon -> Chris Martin -> Sean Newcomb -> Luke Jackson -> Anthony Swarzak -> Jerry Blevins -> Josh Tomlin

I could see Swarzak being IL’ed if Jacob Webb is healthy and ready to come off the IL. And I would probably slide Webb into Swarzak’s spot if that happened.

No excuses, Snit! Use them right.

73 thoughts on “Trade Deadline Roundup – The Bullpen”

  1. JC’d:

    @KC @109, 139 You don’t like the moves JS made in the “early 90’s” and yet they were in the World Series 3 out of 4 years. They added Maddux ahead of the 1993 season and went to the World Series 2 out of the next 3 years. You didn’t like the playoff performances of Glavine and Maddux? Are we remembering the same team??

    1993 – NLCS
    1994 – Strike
    1995 – World Series Champs
    1996 – World Series
    1997 – NLCS
    1998 – NLCS
    1999 – World Series

    It speaks for itself. This team will need a little luck and some more payroll to sniff that kind of success.

  2. And look at the success of Glavine and Maddux in postseason games, WS in particular. Both had ERA’ s just over 2.00 in the Series. You’d take that every year.

  3. Rob, I’m not sure there’s going to be a particular order except Blevins as LOOGY. They should all be able to handle high leverage situations (with Greene and Melancon handling the highest leverage along with Newk handling the highest leverage situations involving lefties).

    Tomlin is not just our long reliever. He has been used as a “finger in the dike” guy in every type of situation in every inning. I think he’ll continue in that role.

    I don’t see anyone in this bullpen that shouldn’t be trusted with some sort of leverage. For all my doubts, it is a much improved pen. I do give great credit to AA for getting this done.

    Snitker seems to like alternating handedness in successive innings (e.g. Melancon 7th, Newcomb 8th, Greene 9th). I wonder if that will continue since we added so many righties.

  4. 4 – Thank AAR, so dating back to 2015 he has pitched 168 innings and issued 22 walks (2 of which were intentional). He does not walk guys.

  5. I wonder how much patience we’ll have with Gausman. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Newcomb stretched out as a starter if Gausman falters on Saturday. Given the effectiveness of Walker, we should be able to do without Newk for 2 weeks.

  6. @9: Snitker had said there are no plans to put Newk back in rotation. I don’t know if the acquisitions change that.

  7. Come to us, our Melancholy hurler
    Huddle up and don’t be blue
    you’ll never see us make you take a purler
    like the Giants often used to make you do.

  8. To those of you wondering why Melancon and not Kimbrel, you just need to refer back to the months of commentary from the beat reporters that the Braves were never going to be willing to give Kimbrel a third year. It was never about the annual salary, but about the length. If they could’ve gotten Kimbrel on a 2-year deal, they certainly would have done so.

  9. Ouch!

  10. I’d be surprised if the Braves try to stretch Newk out considering he’s one of only two LHPs in the bullpen, the other is someone named “Jerry Blevins”, and Minter is horrible. If Gausman continues to stink I’d expect them to try Folty again.

  11. I feel like that might’ve been a 40-man dump on our part and they were willing to take him with their main interest being Tristan Beck. It seemed weird that anybody would actually want Dan Winkler, not to put too fine a point on it.

    One question I have, for people more knowledgeable than me, is how DFAing works with the new August rules. Can teams even make claims and pick up players, sign free agents that have been released, etc.?

  12. @ 16,

    Easy one is that they CAN be signed.

    I THINK the old limit of “on the roster before September 1” is still the postseason limit. If somebody signs Winkler August 31, he would be able to play in their postseason. Otherwise not.

    If you claim somebody on waivers, you still “take their salary with them.” So if the Giants can’t trade Winkler, then if they put him through waivers and somebody claims Winkler, they take on his salary.

    If Winkler clears waivers with no claim, then anybody can sign him for ML or Minor League contract at terms the 2 agree on. Then, Giants pay difference between that new pay rate and what they still owe on the contract the Braves started (1.6 prorated to about 500,000).

  13. I said this yesterday, but with Winkler’s DFA as well, I wonder if teams are trying to sneak these guys through waivers at a time where people may not be willing to commit a 40-man spot to people coming out of nowhere.

  14. @18

    But I didn’t think the Giants could trade Winkler with the new rules. Unless that only applies to the old revocable waivers situation and doesn’t apply to players who have been designated for assignment…

  15. Turning from all the bullpen discussion to batting, I’ve always been somewhat intrigued by teams with three 30+ homer players, noting the Braves feat of three 40+ homer players in 1973: Davey Johnson with 43, Darrell Evans with 41, and Hank Aaron with 40. First time that had every been done.

    Through 109 games, Acuna, Freeman, and Donaldson each have 25…on pace for 37.2. It is possible 1-3 of them do crack the 40-homer level, so there is an outside chance at repeating the feat of three 40+ homer players from 1973.

  16. You guys have convinced me that the need for having a lefty in the bullpen besides Blevins trumps the need to give Newk another shot as a starter. With Folty doing well in AAA, Gausman still better not falter many more times though.

  17. I looked up the official MLB/MLBPA press release from back in the spring and it says, “The trade deadline will remain July 31st, however, trade waivers will be eliminated. Players may be placed and claimed on outright waivers after July 31st, but players may not be traded after that date.”

    So if somebody just claims Dan Winkler on waivers, the Giants will have to let them have him and he’ll go to the new team, and will be eligible for the postseason roster on his new team, with the new team taking on the rest of his salary.

    But I read that as there being none of this thing where a team claims him and then the two sides work out a trade. And there’s obviously no more of the blasting your entire 40-man through revocable waivers on Aug. 1 like there used to be, with everybody that clears being eligible for trade.

    In fact, I don’t think revocable waivers even exist anymore, as there’d be no purpose to it prior to the trade deadline.

  18. Winkler was making $1.6 million this year, so maybe the Braves just wanted to dump his remaining few hundred thousand grand.

  19. @25 Since he’s about 15 on the bullpen depth chart, can you blame them? But I guess in terms of the mechanics of the trade, Atlanta wanted him gone vs. San Francisco wanted him. In some ways, that means that Melancon had some of his salary absorbed through the Winkler savings, so it was Melancon minus $300K for Tristan Beck.

  20. Essentially, my issue with the fan reaction to this trade deadline is that the “every trade must provide positive value” people are driving me nuts, as usual. Though those folks are, admittedly, fewer and less vocal this time around than they’ve been about other deals/deadlines…probably because it was a good deadline for us, regardless of whether or not we’re eating Melancon’s $14 million next year.

  21. Phillies up 9-1 on the Giants in the 5th and the Nats are off, so it appears there will be a tie for 2nd at the end of the night (either 6 or 7 games back of Atl-I vote for 7).

    Tough that we have to face Bauer Saturday, but we do miss Castillo in a 4 game series, so that’s nice.

    Thurs – Desclafini vs Fried
    Fri – Wood vs. Gausman
    Sat – Bauer vs. Keuchel
    Sun – Gray vs Teheran


    Mon – Soroka vs Berrios (that seems like appt viewing).

  22. Non-40 man trades (prospect for prospect) are still OK, but the players obtained cannot be added to the 25 man roster this season.

  23. Since we evened up the season series with the GNats, there are only four teams that we have a losing record against:

    ARI – 3-4 (lost season series)
    CIN – 1-2
    KC – 0-2
    LAD – 0-3

    Arizona is the only team we’ve actually lost a season series to. We haven’t faced the Twins or White Sox yet. We need to win 3/4 against the Reds to take the season series or else that will be the second one we lose.

    I guess part of my point is that we are not just dominating inside the division but we are playing even or better against almost every team we’ve played.

  24. Well, according to what I have just heard, the Braves were in on Greinke but it wasn’t close. It was Houston in the lead from the beginning, and once they were willing to accept a deal with ARI paying less than $30M of what’s owed, Atlanta was out.

    The deal for Shane Greene was basically in place by Tuesday evening, but the Braves were trying to work out a second piece of the deal for Matthew Boyd. The Boyd talks included a catcher being sent in return, and that’s why Murphy was acquired.

    I’m also hearing that the Braves were in negotiations that involved trading Foltynewicz. Take that how you will.

  25. So the Reds will, at the very least, be without their manager for this entire series. Amir Garrett and Jared Hughes could appeal and still be available.

  26. The Winkler inclusion was all about the roster spot. Regardless of what the Giants wanted, the Braves needed to clear a spot for Melancon. I think the $300K was just a bonus.

    @33 I’d like to hear more about possible Boyd and Folty deals. Where are you hearing all of this?

  27. @35 I see him as another Marwin Gonzalez type. Plays everywhere and occasionally hits well. Marwin was an awful hitter his first two years, turned in a few “adequate” years, and had one breakout fantastic year. These types of guys have to find exactly the right organizational fit to be the best they can be.

    Some rebuilding team like Baltimore or Detroit should have taken a flyer on Demeritte two years ago in the Rule 5 draft.

  28. After the recent meltdowns and before the new additions, Fangraphs, as of today, has the Braves bullpen ranked 30th.

  29. I listened to a good bit of a Shane Greene interview today. I like him. Didn’t realize he threw to McCann in New York. He said he only knew one guy on the Braves, so that’s a good guy to know.

  30. I hope Minter has good financial advisers. He should be putting as much of that MLB minimum into a good savings account.

  31. To be contrary, I’d just as not see our new relievers until the eighth or ninth. Throw strikes, Max.

  32. Didn’t get to see every pitch, but Fried threw a few wicked breaking balls in the 1st. Let’s hope he keeps it up.

  33. AA on radio says there was a reliever being discussed yesterday but the prospect swap was a bit too high.

    Also alludes to a discussion about a middle of the order bat also with a price a bit too high.

  34. I like AA’s close to the vest style, but he could let me know what’s up. I wouldn’t tell anybody but y’all.

  35. Good luck to Travis Demeritte. He’s worked his ass off to get to this point and almost broke through with the Braves. Good for him to make it into the big leagues, even if it’s with Detroit. Remember we acquired him by flipping a three-weeks hot Lucas Harrell to the Rangers.

  36. Yeah, look at all that effort wasted on getting new relievers when all we need is a daily deluge.

    A starter for seven
    Then water from heaven.

  37. Happy with the Ortega promotion. Has good speed, patience, plate discipline, and gap power has turned into over the fence power with the ball boost. He can also play all 3 OF spots. He’s been a true 5-tool player at AAA this year.

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