5 Best and 5 Worst Trades of the Atlanta Braves Rebuild: Part 1
Braves trade SP Lucas Harrell and RP Dario Alvarez to Texas for 2B Travis Demeritte.
This trade makes the list because of the almost comical buy-low sell-high aspect of it. Atlanta signed Lucas Harrell to minor league deal in the middle of the 2016 season and picked up Dario Alvarez on the waiver wire.
No offense to the players but these were scraps that basically any team in baseball could’ve had for free and Coppy turned them into a living, breathing prospect.
And not just any prospect. MLB.com just rated Demeritte the 9th best prospect in Atlanta’s #1 system and he’s probably a top 5 prospect in an average system. He has his issues for sure – contact being the number one red flag – but the power is very real and Eric Longenhagen of Fangraphs just recently described his defensive range and athleticism as “remarkable.”
There’s a bit of Javy Baez comp in there if you squint hard enough but even if he doesn’t reach his potential, the spare parts he was acquired for make this one of the best trades of the rebuild.
Braves trade C Evan Gattis and SP James Hoyt to Houston for SP Mike Foltynewicz, 3B Rio Ruiz and SP Andrew Thurman.
I chose this trade for two simple reasons. One, Foltynewicz and Ruiz look, at the very worst, to be major league contributors and two, Evan Gattis always seemed destined to play in the American League.
Gattis “can” catch but it isn’t ideal and Houston has learned it’s best to limit his catching opportunities while utilizing him as the DH a majority of the time and that obviously wasn’t going to be an option for Atlanta.
Not to mention, as a bat first player, Gattis has a career .302 OBP and basically has to hit a bunch of home runs just to keep from being replacement level (fortunately for Houston, he has).
Meanwhile, Foltynewicz has separated himself as the best pitcher among Atlanta’s first wave of prospects and certainly the most likely to stick in the rotation. The arm is special and if the improvements he showed last year continue, this return looks even better for Atlanta.
And that doesn’t even account for Ruiz, who’s re-dedication to his body and his craft has turned a once questionable future into at least a shot with the big-league club.
I, like most fans, loved Evan Gattis but turning a flawed player into two potential major pieces for the next contending team is a big win.
Braves trade INF Phil Gosselin to Arizona for SP Bronson Arroyo and SP Touki Toussaint.
The greatness of this trade is tied to the creativity it took to pull it off as well as the player it netted. Arizona decided it need to shed salary and Bronson Arroyo and his $10M commitment was the piece chosen to move.
Atlanta, having a surplus of payroll space at the time, decided to facilitate the transaction for a fee. That fee: Touki Toussaint.
Touki was a recent a first round pick with some of the nastiest stuff in the minors and someone the Braves had being eyeing for a while. Hilariously, Arizona said yes to this deal trading away 40-50 million in value to save 10 million in salary.
This was just another example in a long of instances when Arizona’s front office showed they had no idea how to properly value players or assets and Coppy swooped in to take advantage. And not for the last time.