Why do the D-backs trade with the Braves anymore?

Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Shelby Miller throws to the Miami Marlins during the first inning of a baseball game in Miami, Sunday, May 17, 2015. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)

Shelby Miller: He’s good, but not that good. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)

A sampling of the scathing reviews regarding Arizona’s trade for Shelby Miller:

Headline on azcentralsports: Did Diamondbacks fall for the Braves’ tricks again?

Writes Andrew Joseph: “When it comes down to it, dealing with the Braves hasn’t worked out for the Diamondbacks, but no trade has been riskier than this deal for Miller. Thanks to the trade, the Diamondbacks don’t have a bright (distant) future. This is a team that is all about the present.”

Headline on FanGraphs: Attempting to rationalize the Shelby Miller trade

Writes Craig Edwards: “This plan might work to get (the Diamondbacks) to the playoffs, but long-term their failure to understand the market is costing them precious assets that could be used to build a sustainable winner.”

Another headline on FanGraphs: Diamondbacks pay for ace, get Shelby Miller

Writes Jeff Sullivan: “Miller is plenty interesting. He ought to help Arizona. Yet the trade looks like a clear, obvious mistake … We know what took place, and we have a pretty darn good idea it’s extremely lopsided. One of the more lopsided trades in recent history.”

Headline on Baseball Prospectus: The Shelby Shocker

Writes Matthew Trueblood: “The Diamondbacks surrendered perhaps the National League’s best fourth outfielder, in (Ender) Inciarte, a key cog in their run-prevention machine in 2015. They gave up Aaron Blair, a former first-round pick who split 2015 between Double-A and Triple-A, and who could have provided nice rotation depth in 2016. And they gave up Dansby Swanson, the top overall pick in the draft six months ago. If the Diamondbacks had any hope of extending their half-open competitive window further than the end of Paul Goldschmidt’s prime, they put a huge dent in it by agreeing to this trade.”

Headline on ESPN’s SweetSpot: Braves rob Diamondbacks in Shelby Miller trade

Writes David Schoenfield: “Miller is the big name here but the Braves got an absolutely terrific haul of talent for a dependable, mid-rotation starter. Heck, Inciarte may be worth more than Miller by himself and is certainly proof that executives Dave Stewart and Tony La Russa are out of touch in the analytics game.”

A bit of history. In early 2013, the Braves’ then-GM Frank Wren plucked Justin Upton and Chris Johnson from the D-backs — whose general manager was Kevin Towers — for Martin Prado and Randall Delgado. That was a win for the Braves. (Not a windfall, but a clear win. The Braves won 96 games and the National League East.) Last summer, the Wren-less Braves fleeced the Snakes for former No. 1 pick Touki Toussaint in exchange for utility man Phil Gosselin and the remainder of Bronson Arroyo’s contract. The aforementioned Stewart and La Russa got roasted for that. Now the same D-backs duo just overpaid — and saying they overpaid understates it — for Miller.

Arizona’s three most recent No. 1 picks — Blair, Toussaint and Swanson — are Atlanta property. This comes at a time when every other organization puts a massive value on the procuring and hoarding of No. 1 picks. We could say that La Russa and Stewart don’t, as front-office types, know what they’re doing, but the Upton trade was hashed out by different GMs.

Maybe it’s the desert air. Maybe it’s too much time spent in the Arizona sun. But something is odd in Phoenix. But that’s those folks’ problem. For now, let’s just say: Every time the Braves’ John Coppolella sees the name “Dave Stewart” flash on his iPhone, his heart surely goes pit-a-pat.

(Oh, and for those audibly inclined, here’s a Baseball Prospectus Effectively Wild podcast by Sam Miller and Ben Lindbergh, in which the Miller trade is discussed at length. Neither Sam nor Ben understand it, either.)

(As for me, I wrote this: Time for kudos – the Braves just made a tremendous trade.)

(And this: The Miller trade is the Braves’ master stroke.)

(And this about the Toussaint deal: A really slick trade for the increasingly brainy Braves.)

Reader Comments 0

21 comments
TideDawg
TideDawg

I find it hard to believe that the D'Back's management is stupid. The Braves don't know much about Inciarte's value to the team. He could be a clubhouse problem, a malcontent or something other than a .300 hitter.  The prospects sound like gold but they are still prospects. I suggest that the D'Backs didn't get rid of anything they felt like they needed and they acquired a number 2 starter, or 3 at worst. The Braves traded away their talent for future prospects. The D'Backs traded away talent for "now". The Braves can put all of those prospects in a sifter, shake em up, and see if a future winning teams falls out. All of those pitching prospects are like money in the bank when it comes time to trade for a big hitter.

PalmBeachFalcon
PalmBeachFalcon

Nice piece, Mark.  However, some of our own refuse to see the value in this trade

AlpharettaMan
AlpharettaMan

So where in the depth chart do these three go? Is BOurn still relevant now, or Swisher? So its Olivera in LF, Inciarte in CF, Markakis in RF, right? So we have two $15mil+ back up OFs and a backup 1bman? Or maybe they platoon Bourn when Inciarte needs a break?

RangeRover
RangeRover

Would have rather given them Teheran but even the Diamondbacks  know he's vastly overrated.

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

I felt better about the Miller trade until I saw all of the Media types pattin the Braves front office on the back. I understand on paper the trade looks one sided,(even if the Dbacks only included Swanson and Inciarte the Braves would have won the deal,Blair is an added bonus).Just be careful about counting your Chickens(prospects) before they hatch.

TOJacket
TOJacket

Is it still Baseball season?...................Good grief AJC,,,,,,,,,it's FOOTBALL season!!!!...the Braves were bad (rebuilding) and they will be bad next year (still rebuilding).....lets concentrate on seasonal topics could we?

TOJacket
TOJacket

@BostonBullDawg @TOJacket No,,,,,,,,you must have missed, we actually beat a top 10 team.....we had a season like UGA's........kind of disappointing?.......Is Chip camped outside the "Chosen Ones" house this morning? Good luck in the 20th ranked "Tax Bowl"....Coach Smarty taking Georgie all the way!!

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@TOJacket

What's Bradley supposed to do write about the Georgia State Panthers? The only college in Atlanta still playing football. Or I guess he could write another column on the Jacob Eason decision Dog or Gator?

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@TOJacket

TO


Have fun at the annual Fish Fry this year, almost as much fun as celebrating another Coastal Cup.


TOJacket
TOJacket

@Buschleaguer @TOJacket Maybe he could write about the Eagles getting Boat raced at home?.....we won a major Bowl game within the last year.......how about anyone else Professor?......LOL.....34-7?.......you're an easy fish to catch!

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@TOJacket

Just remember we come back to your house next year,Hope the ACC replay official brings his seeing eye dog.

And Tech actually beat a top ten team this year. 

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@TOJacket

Kind of like the Dogs own Tech. As far as Ga.southern goes if their HC Fritts keeps flirting with middling coaching Jobs(Tulane This Time) the program will continue to have growing pains,two of the most embarrassing losses in school history (WVa. and Ga.St.).Fritts either needs to commit to the Eagles or move on now.


TOJacket
TOJacket

@Buschleaguer @TOJacket Let me tell you my take.......if you can Coach a team in Ga. and win with UGA's leftovers(take them to OT) you are going to get offers.....and no offense, but Tulane is a bigger job than GSU......Tulane used to be in the SEC.

patriotdog
patriotdog

'we had a season like UGAs'. Really? Congrats, then, on the 9 win season, bowl game and defeating your instate rival......oh, wait. That didn't happen. And y'all would fire CPJ If you weren't broke.

TOJacket
TOJacket

@patriotdog How many top 10 teams(present) did you mutts play.....oh yea.....Bama, and got grudge stomped!...again!......9 wins against cupcakes and SEC Least...weakest division in the P5?

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@TOJacket

So was Ga.Tech ,and look at the Jackets now.Tulane must not have too much now,or was the Green Wave the Top 10 Team the Jackets beat this year.