Atlanta Braves trade ranked prospects for a draft pick: Why?

A general view of the MLB First Year Player Draft in Studio 42 at the MLB Network in Secaucus, New Jersey. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
A general view of the MLB First Year Player Draft in Studio 42 at the MLB Network in Secaucus, New Jersey. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /
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Atlanta Braves
The Atlanta Braves traded outfielder Drew Waters for a draft pick. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images /

The Atlanta Braves trade of two ranked prospects for a competitive balance round pick adds an interesting twist to the draft.

As Jake told us earlier today, the Atlanta Braves traded Drew Waters, Andrew Hoffman, and CJ Alexander to Kansas City in exchange for the Royals pick in the first competitive balance round of Sunday’s Rule 4 Amateur Draft.

Waters’ stock dropped as he struggled with a high K-rate, and the writing was on the wall when the club promoted Michael Harris II instead of Waters. Most of us at the Take felt Waters was a trade chip the Braves would use to bring in needed talent at the deadline, but trading for a prospect — or a prospect via a draft pick — was never discussed.

The trade of Waters, Hoffman, and Alexander was a clear signal that Alex Anthopoulos is executing a plan to maximize the money available to sign additions to the club’s depleted farm system

The trade market

A look around the trade market shows low quantities of actual talent and high demand.

Tier one is premium pitching, with only Luis Castillo, Frankie Montas, and Tyler Mahle at the 99th percentile on the absolutely-will-be-moved scale.

There are rumors that the Marlins may move Jorge Lopez for Major-League-ready offense. He would require a huge return, so I don’t think that happens.

The Padres would trade Blake Snell or Mike Clevinger for the right outfielder. Snell’s never seemed to find a home in San Diego, and Clevinger is in his walk year.

However, a team who should understand how fragile pitching depth is would have to get exactly what they want. Neither of these pitchers are going to get traded for prospects.

No elite bats are on the move unless a team expects Gallo to shake off his distaste for New York and start destroying the ball again, leaving only players like the four the Atlanta Braves signed last year. The Braves still have the prospects to get those kinds of guys.

The arrival of Robinson Cano may end the Braves search for a left-handed bat. The Waters deal ends any chance of Andrew Benintendi coming to Atlanta, and other rentals are affordable.

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