Time for kudos: The Braves just made a tremendous trade

Even the Braves' elders are awed by John Coppolella's latest move. (Hyosub Shin/AJC photo)

Even the Braves’ elders are awed by John Coppolella’s latest move. (Hyosub Shin/AJC photo)

If you’re going to get really good after being really bad, this is the trade you have to make: A sell-high offloading of a good player for three guys who might be better than good. Ender Inciarte had a 5.3 WAR value last season, and he’s the least impressive part of this Atlanta Braves’ haul.

That’s correct. A guy with a 5.3 WAR — the 2015 Braves had nobody above a 4.0 — is a ride-along in this stunning trade. Stunning not because the Braves made it; they make a lot of trades, as we know. Stunning because they could get this much for Shelby Miller. Of all the moves the New Braves have made, this is my favorite.

The Braves got Dansby Swanson, who’s a shortstop — there’s your eventual Andrelton Simmons replacement, assuming Ozzie Albies isn’t — and who was the No. 1 pick in the June draft. Not the June draft of 2009. The June draft of six months back. The Braves just got one of the best young talents in the game without having to draft him themselves.

The only reason the Diamondbacks would trade such an asset so soon is because they’re in win-now mode, which makes sense since they just sunk $206.5 million into Zack Greinke, but still: Ask the Padres, whom the Braves fleeced twice last offseason, how that win-now stuff works out.

Oh, and the Snakes didn’t just part with their No. 1 prospect. They also dispatched Aaron Blair, a right-handed pitcher who was their No. 3 prospect. (Yes, I know the Braves have a ton of pitching prospects, but this trade shows us why they’ve gone to all that trouble: You can buy a lot of stuff with young pitching.)

Braves general manager John Coppolella and I have discussed at length these sort of deals, and the two we’ve hashed over the most involved Greinke going from Kansas City to Milwaukee for Lorenzo Cain and Alcides Escobar, who became the starting center fielder and shortstop on the team that almost won consecutive World Series, and the Mets sending R.A. Dickey to Toronto for Noah Syndergaard and Travis d’Arnaud, who would be the New Yorkers’ starting battery in Game 3 of the 2015 World Series. That’s the kind of yield this trade could produce, and here we note the difference:

The Royals traded Greinke a year removed from a Cy Young season. The Mets traded Dickey coming off a Cy Young season. The Braves traded Miller off an All-Star season, but that’s it. Miller was 11th among National League pitchers in ERA, 19th in WHIP and 18th in FIP (fielding independent pitching). He also was the ninth-worst in xFIP, which factors in home runs allowed versus expected HRs allowed and which suggests his 2015 season mightn’t be replicated. As good as Miller was, he wasn’t quite great.

Arizona just paid a price normally reserved for a bona fide great pitcher. Kudos to Coppolella for making it happen. You can carp all you want about the Braves selling off everybody who’s any good, but you can’t carp about this particular deal. This was a beauty.

Reader Comments 0

101 comments
cobeacJack
cobeacJack

BOOK IT!!! BRAVES IN WORLD SERIES. Remember 5 weeks ago you wrote BOOK IT Falcons in playoffs? Please don't say it.

TOJacket
TOJacket

It's Football season.........save some of this for March?

58Supersports
58Supersports

Thanks Mark,  Pete Gamon on MLB said Swanson could be another raw Chipper Jones in the making. That would be a great Coppy history deal. I like the deal all three players period.  Rosenthal  ask the question why didn't Braves go ahead and trade Freeman, look what you could get for future as  Braves not trying to win now. Also unload Bourn and Swisher.. Go Braves!



Saldiven
Saldiven

That's all well and good, but how does that make me want to go to Turner Field in 2016? It'll be awesome if the Braves are good again in 2017 and/or later, but I'm just not seeing anything about the organization that inspires me to spend any money on them this coming season. The Braves were 24th out of 30 teams in home attendance in 2015; expect them to be even lower in 2016.

Born2Buzz
Born2Buzz

@Saldiven It doesn't and the Braves don't care.  If nobody shows up for games next year the Braves still make money.  Their profits went up despite the attendance going down.  The strategy is to reduce overhead (player salaries) to a minimum.  Expect that to continue past 2017 and if the youngsters are actually any good and the team is competitive that is a bonus.

Jake from State Farm
Jake from State Farm

Would you have gone ito the park in 2016 if Shelby Miller wasn't traded? Doubtful...so the trade makes even more sense.

TideDawg
TideDawg

Darn! I'm still waiting for the Fredi Gonzalez trade. I guess he's about as easy to trade as BJ Upton. Under the cover of a team that nobody expects to be very good, Gonzalez will look like a first class manager. If he doesn't.....nobody will care. OK, they don't trade managers, I know that, but......!

T Lee
T Lee

Jason Grilli was lights out until his injury. Jim Johnson has proven to be a good set up man and closer.

PalmBeachFalcon
PalmBeachFalcon

Headlines on arizonarepublic.com: "Yet again, Diamondbacks Fall for Braves' Tricks" and "Did D-Backs Give uo too much for Shelby Miller".

TideDawg
TideDawg

@PalmBeachFalcon A draft choice and a .300 hitter are not likely to win 20 games for any team.... Shelby Miller can.

Jake from State Farm
Jake from State Farm

Shelby Miller lost 17 games last year despite being excellent. How in the world can you say he can win 20 games???? Ridiculous

esmitty3
esmitty3

@TideDawg That's why he went 6-17 last year right? ....stupid statement 

TideDawg
TideDawg

@PalmBeachFalcon @TideDawg Oh, I like the trade but no need to get euphoric over a .300 hitter unless they have some power in the lineup and Olivera is not going to give it to them. However, I think the plan is to stockpile some cash because there are some big names that will be in free agency by 2017. Mike Trout comes to mind.

esmitty3
esmitty3

@TideDawg Didn't say you were stupid....just your idiotic comment that made no logical sense 

esmitty3
esmitty3

@TideDawg How do you think Miller lost 17 games last year and had a ERA around 3.00? Because we gave him 1-2 runs a game...So yes getting a 1st overall pick without paying for him and a .300 hitter with above average defensive play PLUS a #3-4 pitcher in the starting rotation. Hell yeah I'm trading him

richbrave
richbrave

Not knowing much about the three incoming pieces, I have to take Mr. BRADLEY's words at face value. I've been saying on the DOB blog that there should be a serious haul of talent for the outgoing MILLER. Looks like that happened.


Still none were catcher's or a center fielder.


Over the next season to season-and-a-half, ALBIES or SWANSON could be front and center in a trade. 


Does INCIARTE's arrival foreshadow MARKAKIS' departure?


Either or both for a frontline catcher, or center fielder?


And another young RH prospect-trade chip to go with other RH prospect-trade chips?


Stay tuned BRAVES fans.

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@richbrave

Inciarte will play CF and bat lead off for the 2016 Braves.Whether Markakis is traded or not will not be based on the Braves acquiring Inciarte.The Braves signed a FA catcher Flowers to split time with AJ this year.Swanson and Albies will likely be playing on the Braves infield well past 2020.

esmitty3
esmitty3

@richbrave Obviously you dont know much about Ender because he plays CF... and since his debut in 2013 has the 3rd most runs saved of any Of in the league. 

richbrave
richbrave

Now realize FLOWERS has arrived to split time with PIERZYNSKI.


And that INCIARTE can play all three OF positions. When I looked him up in a reference, it said he was a RF'er only.


Still MARKAKIS is tradable.


BETHANCOURT because of his play, BOURN and SWISHER because of their respective salaries should be gone, but none are likely to leave right now. Come spring maybe a team has an injury with a resulting hole to fill, and something may happen. 

richbrave
richbrave

And just as I think that, BETHANCOURT disappears in the rearview......

chem
chem

Kudos to you Brad for not mentioning W-L

Floyd Hardaway
Floyd Hardaway

I wish we could get Craig Kimbrel and Justin Upton back without Melvin Upton

Floyd Hardaway
Floyd Hardaway

As fed up as I am with all these trades and using excuses the braves are doing like e.g. "we're rebuilding" I must say this was a good trade because according to somebody they're "high prospect." That's the praise they're giving them, but my reason, anybody young coming into the game has potential to be good or great and I'm just gonna sit back and watch but as soon as these guys get good and want to get paid I swear to you coppella, what ever his name is, gonna start rubbing his chin again and do another busted up trade. Til this day I think that trade between padres with kimbrel was and still a bad trade and could bite the braves in the butt. Whose our closer now, who will be our closer. We will never find a closer like that for a minute. So braves need to stop being cheap as far as far paying there players because it takes money to build a great team. It might work for one season

T Lee
T Lee

Jason Grilli was lights out until his injury. Jim Johnson has proven to be a good set up man and closer.

0.673803130547
0.673803130547

 Unbelievable trade. Great work. 


And thanks Mark -- your columns actually add value from an analytical perspective, rather than circulating baseless, non-informative, antiquated thoughts laced with lame attempts at humor. 

typicalatlteam
typicalatlteam

The Braves will have a small window to reach and win the world series. If all of these 46893 prospects pan out to be good, they will demand money and the Braves and Liberty Media will have a fire sale and back to bad we will go; i.e. another rebuild.

We need new ownership, with money, period.

MitchellC
MitchellC

I didnt like this trade at first.  Miller is still young, and had a very good ERA, in spite of his horrible record.    


Yet, as much as I often dont agree with Mark, I find myself inclined to have to agree with him here.  


While Miller should have been the pitcher we would eventually want to build a team around, getting a high rate of return for him with a bad team isnt completely crazy thinking. 


Chances are.. the 2016 Braves will lose more than 100 games in the final season at Turner Field. 


Hopefully, within a season or two after moving into the new ballpark, these prospects will mature, and we will be at least competing in the NL East

SeaAtl70
SeaAtl70

I agree - looks like a good trade.  And I've been skeptical for the past year +.  I'm wondering what this says about Albies, though.  One of my reasons for skepticism has been the near constant touting of our prospects, until we suddenly trade or bench one - some people tend to forget that prospects aren't guaranteed.....either way, this one looks good.  I still say the 2016 Braves will be as bad as the 2015 Braves - maybe worse - but 2017 & beyond is starting to take shape.

Frosgrim
Frosgrim

@PalmBeachFalcon @SeaAtl70  Or they move Albies to 2nd. that seems like the plan, at as of today.

The long-term point is that if both Albies and Swanson are major sticks, you figure out where they fit in the field.


JeffCriswell
JeffCriswell

Good trade on paper. Braves just stoked a lot of interest.

NewnanT-H
NewnanT-H

Still hate the Simmons deal with all my heart. But they really fleeced the Diamondbacks again. First Toussaint for Gosselin and now this? Thank you very much. 


I'd be shopping Teheran too just to see if the market continues like this. They may lose 110 games next year, but an Astros-like turnaround is in their future if they keep this up. 


Send Teheran to the Cubs for one of their young catchers. That's a position that's desperately needed in Atlanta. 

typicalatlteam
typicalatlteam

@NewnanT-H Again you are assuming that Liberty Media is going to spend the money to keep most of these players. Right now it's nothing more than a cheap "mostly prospect" talent pool.

typicalatlteam
typicalatlteam

@joshua magro You know what raises payroll? TV contracts and the Braves contract is terrible. Why do you think Liberty Media began trading Braves stock? Trying to generate revenue. We need a new owner with money, PERIOD.

joshua magro
joshua magro

I think chicago is done after lackey and zobrist signings...they gota great team w nice mix of veterans and youth...I kind of like having a veteran catcher to mentor these young guys...ie greg olson...

Question...what do we do w mr bourne and swisher now...trade for little value or let them groom the kids coming up

joshua magro
joshua magro

You know what raises payroll?

Winning....which is what my Braves will be doing in the near future!...monster trade...mvps...coppy, schuerholtz..and hart