Braves Deadline Trade Shocks Fans
By Fred Owens
May 24, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcherPaco Rodriguez
(75) pitches the fifth inning against the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Paco Rodriguez is a 24 year old left reliever with a big arm. He was selected in the second round of the 2012 draft and after just 42 minor league games made his debut on September ninth against the Giants.
The following season he was an ever present in the Dodger pen making 75 appearances and posting a 2.32 ERA, 0.902 WHIP striking out 63 while walking just 19 in 54 1/3 innings. He began 2104 with the Dodgers but appeared in just eight games posting a 3.18 ERA , 1.417 WHIP striking out five and walking two in his 5 2/3 innings before being sent to AAA. He returned to the Dodgers for two games at the end of April then spent May, June and the first half of July back in Albuquerque.
Over the next two years the hard throwing Rodriguez experienced a shoulder strain twice and on July second had surgery to remove loose bodies from him elbow. The recovery time is projected to be eight to ten weeks which would be between the end of August and mid-September. Realistically he might not be available this year
When healthy Rodriguez is a force of nature out of the bullpen. This season he started with the big club appearing in 18 games with a 2.61 ERA, 1.258 WHIP striking out eight and walking four in 10 1/3 innings. before his first DL stint.
The Dodgers chipped in to the deal by sending Bird to the Braves. Bird was selected in the 9th round of the 2012 draft at the ripe old age of 17. Baseball America’s draft report (subscription required) said that he had “touched 92 mph” but went on to say he “was a raw talent which shows in his inconsistent delivery and control.” At that time he threw a 70 mph curveball and was developing a changeup.
Beginning this season BA ranked him as the Dodgers number 19 prospect and provided an updated evaluation that said in part:”
"“. . .by the end he was sitting 93-96 mph and cracked 99. In August, Bird ditched the windup . . . That simplified his delivery, allowing him to focus on attacking hitters more aggressively, and he posted a 38-to-8 SO/BB ratio in 26 innings in the season’s final month. . .has an electric fastball, but his secondary stuff needs work. . . Bird’s stiff-shouldered arm action concerns some scouts, and his crossfire delivery causes him to finish closed off. That doesn’t help his control, which is trending in the right direction. . . (he) has the chance to develop into a back-end starter. If not, his power arm would play well in the bullpen. . ."
By mid year Bird had made 17 starts at A+ Rancho Cucamonga post a 5-7 record with a 4.75 ERA (4,18 FIP) 1.317 WHIP striking out 95 and walking 45 in 89 innings pitched and MLB Pipeline elevated him to the Dodgers number 15 prospect. He’s striking out players at a 24% rate that comes out to 9.61 per nine. The 6’3” 177 pound righty is still a raw talent but added to Touki Toussaint, Ricardo Sanchez, Matt Withrow and Chris Withrow the Braves suddenly have a stable of big arms coming through the system.
Here’s Bird at work.
UPDATE Braves Are Listening on Julio Teheran
More than that we do not know
That’s A Wrap
A three team deadline trade is always a bit confusing at first blush. This one made emotions rise because Woody is at least temporarily headed to LA – there are rumors he may go to Detroit as part of a deal for David Price. After taking a deep breath and putting things into context the deal and the reasons are fairly straightforward.
I liked Wood as much as anyone, he did yeoman’s work for the Braves when the better prospects were stumbling. He was however at this highest value as a number three starter – not a two a three sorry – and a movable piece.
Peraza’s hype among Atlanta fans had surpassed his actual potential and with Peterson settled in at second for now and playing better defense, he too was expendable.
I would have liked something different but Woody and Peraza were the the $28M the Braves wouldn’t add to Olivera’s contract this spring. They got Olivera for just over five million a year AAV, that’s a good value. The Dodgers threw in Rodriguez who has the potential to be a big piece in a bullpen that’s starting to look like power arms are us. The Braves also picked up another young, controllable power arm and the Dodgers number 15 prospect.
The Marlins surrendered the number five comp balance pick for next year and sent Morris to Atlanta. Healthy, Morse is a power threat that the Braves have long needed. It’s true he’ll strike out a lot and he isn’t an elegant outfielder, but he and Olivera suddenly provide some right handed punch that balances the lineup and he may well be flipped to a team needing a DH.
Is it perfect? No. But it neither is is some of the adjectives I’ve seen used on Twitter since the news broke. It’s more than likely the last deal the Braves will make as well. I suppose A.J. Pierzynski could be dealt and there’s a slim – wafer thin – chance Jonny Gomes goes as well
I’m sure you’re going to let us know what you think and we encourage that. Remember, however, that because someone provides rationale for a deal, they aren’t necessarily a fan of all of the moving parts. With that in mind let’s hear your Take.