My Take: the Evan Gattis Trade
Grading This Trade
So what did Hart do here? Turned a power hitter without a position into two very-top prospects with full team control. Folty may be in the rotation in 2016. Ruiz could be starting 3B by 2017. Both could then be at those positions for several years with the Braves. Given Gattis’ status as the sole available power hitter on the market, and with his catching ability, and with the years of control… I do think another player in return would have been appropriate… but it’s hard to complain about who we got. B+
How does this compare with earlier deals?
- The Heyward Trade. Harder to measure since Jordan Walden was included, but I’d rank that a couple of notches better than this one since Jason had only 1 year of control left – especially if Tyrell Jenkins pans out (i.e., returns to form that made him a Top 50 prospect overall). Additionally, Walden was replaced via a free agent signing. This deal gets an A from me.
- The Upton Trade. This one is dependent on Max Fried, though Mallex Smith and Jace Peterson were outstanding ‘gets’. If Fried comes back, then this could be the #1 trade of the off-season. ‘A-‘ pending what we see from Fried.
- The La Stella Deal. I’m not going to forget this one, for the Braves netted 3 international spending slots along with Arodys Vizcaino. I believe those slots have been used now, though we won’t know about the success of these new signees for another 5-6 years, though it was a brilliant trade to take advantage of the fact that the Cubs had money they weren’t allowed to spend. Solid B grade.
- Yesterday – this deal ranks favorably with the three predecessors, perhaps third overall, but by a small margin. Injury recoveries (from the other deals) will impact the outcomes and prospects will often break your heart, but the deals were all first-rate, and dramatically accomplished the goals desired by this front office.
Does this trade help the Braves in 2015? Nope – unless Folty surprises and cracks the rotation early, but that’s 99-44/100% not likely. In fact, even if he throws back-to-back no-no’s, the Braves would have no reason to start his arbitration clock early… or the clocks of any others available (including Jose Peraza, to name one).
So Hart isn’t done – expect a new Left Fielder soon. I think we have plenty of 5th starter candidates now. The offense will be weak, but the pitcher will be very strong – both in the rotation and the bullpen. That will keep the Braves “in” most games. If that new left field has some defensive skills, then that will indirectly help the offense as well.
I do think all of this transaction action leaves the Braves with a 4th place club for 2015 (glad the Phillies are in the division), but it should also be the lowest the Braves finish for the next decade.
For while this off-season is all about the future, that future is looking excellent.