Atlanta Braves: Revisiting the Shane Greene Trade
Back at the 2019 trade deadline, the Atlanta Braves traded Joey Wentz and Travis Demeritte for Shane Greene. How did that trade work out for both clubs?
Back in 2019, the Atlanta Braves were in the midst of a division race but had a major issue. The bullpen. The bullpen was atrocious at the time outside of Luke Jackson. Enter Shane Greene.
Also enter Mark Melancon and Chris Martin. It was a busy trade deadline for the Braves as they attempted to bolster a bullpen that desperately needed it. Today, we are just focusing on the Shane Greene trade.
The reason being is that the final piece of the trade, Joey Wentz, will finally make his MLB debut for the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday. How has that trade looked for both clubs since the 2019 trade deadline?
Shane Greene steady presence
The Braves were in desperate need of bullpen help during the 2019 season. Luke Jackson was the most reliable pitcher, saving games and arguably the Braves season at times.
Greene was in the midst of an All-Star caliber first half in Detroit. He would total 38 innings in 38 appearances, with a 1.18 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, and 22 saves. He struck out 28.5% of batters while only walking 7.9%.
There were some concerns due to his peripherals, such as a 3.69 FIP and 3.81 xFIP. Those concerns intensified as in his first 6 appearances, Greene had a 14.54 ERA, 8.75 FIP, 4.59 xFIP, and 0 saves.
Greene would bounce back in his final 21 appearances of the year, with a 1.77 ERA, 2.92 FIP, 4.14 xFIP with 1 save and 9 holds. Overall, he pitched 24.2 innings with a 4.01 ERA, 3.94 FIP, 4.22 xFIP, 1.22 WHIP, 20.8% strikeout rate, 5.0% walk rate, 1 save, and 10 holds.
Greene was not the lockdown closer the Braves hoped he would be, but after the shaky start, he would become a reliable option for the 7th or 8th inning. He helped stabilize the bullpen to finish the year.
He was a steady option during the 2020 season as well, with 27.2 innings pitched, a 2.60 ERA, 3.48 xERA, 3.81 FIP, 4.75 xFIP, 1.12 WHIP, 19.3% strikeout rate, 8.3% walk rate, and 9 holds.
The peripherals would eventually catch up in 2021, as Greene would have an 8.47 ERA, 6.76 FIP, 5.63 xFIP, 1.82 WHIP, 20.5% strikeout rate, and 10.8% walk rate in 17 innings before his time in Atlanta would come to an end.
He may not have been the lockdown closer, but he provided the Braves some stability in the bullpen for a couple seasons. Which is what the Braves needed at the time.
The Tigers Return
The Tigers were not in a position to win in 2019. Bad teams do not need closers, so it made sense to trade Greene. The return? Top pitching prospect Joey Wentz and Travis Demeritte.
Travis Demeritte- OF
Braves fans recognize Travis Demeritte as a current regular for the Atlanta Braves but he was traded away from the club before returning. Demeritte was 21st on MLB’s ranking of the Braves top 30 prospects in 2018 but had fallen out of the top 30 in 2019.
He would debut for the Tigers after the trade in 2019. Demeritte appeared in 48 games, hitting .225/.286/.343 3 HR, 24 R, 20 RBI, 3 SB with a .272 wOBA and 66 wRC+. Defensively, he was a liability in right field, with a -9 DRS and -5 OAA in 411.2 innings.
He would play 18 games for the Tigers in 2020, hitting .172/.273/.207 5 R, 4 RBI, with a .230 wOBA and 40 wRC+. He did improve defensively, with a 2 DRS and 0 OAA in 71 innings split between left and right field.
The Tigers would designate Demeritte for assignment in February 2021 and the Braves would pick him back up. He has become a fan favorite for the Braves in 2022.
Joey Wentz- P
The man of the hour. Joey Wentz. Wentz will make his major league debut on Wednesday. The main return in the Greene trade finally reaches Detroit.
Wentz was a top 10 prospect for the Braves, rising as high as 7th in some rankings before moving to the Tigers. Unfortunately, his debut was delayed due to Tommy John surgery in March 2020.
Now, ranked 12th in the Tigers system, Wentz will finally reach the majors. Wentz relies on a low to mid 90s fastball that pairs with a plus changeup. He also features a slider and curveball that could be solid major league offerings.
Wentz’s game relies on command and control to be effective. None of his offerings are elite but if his command is working, he can be a quality major league pitcher.
He may not have a ceiling to be a top of the rotation arm, but there is potential for him to be a reliable middle rotation pitcher for several years. That would be a great return for a closer that was traded away during a rebuild year.
The Braves ended up pretty well with Greene. While Demeritte may not have worked out in Detroit, the Tigers are hoping that Wentz could become a mainstay in their pitching rotation for the next several years.
Time will tell what is in store for Wentz in his career. There is a chance both organizations can still win this trade.