PHOENIX -- It took a little longer than desired and some restructuring, but the Braves eventually sent left-handed starting pitcher Jaime Garcia to the Twins.
Garcia and Minor League catcher Anthony Recker were traded to the Twins in exchange for right-handed pitching prospect Huascar Ynoa and cash considerations on Monday afternoon. This was a move that has given Atlanta some financial flexibility to pursue Sonny Gray and other frontline controllable starting pitchers who could provide significant value over the next few seasons.
"We have talked about buying and selling in the trade market," Braves general manager John Coppolella said. "We continue to explore opportunities to improve our club in the short and long term."
The Braves were willing to accept a marginal prospect (Ynoa ranked as Minnesota's 22nd-best prospect per MLBPipeline.com) to enhance the financial flexibility created by this trade. The Twins will assume all of the approximate $4.7 million owed to Garcia this year and all but $100,000 of the remaining salary owed to Recker, who has a one-year, $800,000 contract.
With the approximate $4.75 million saved via this trade, the Braves may attempt to buy some long-term assets before the deadline. Gray appears to be at the top of their wish list. The 27-year-old A's right-hander has posted a 3.66 ERA in 15 starts this year. He is making $3.57 million and is arbitration-eligible through the 2019 season.
These two clubs had significant discussions about Garcia late last week, but the negotiations stalled when the Braves had medical concerns about Nick Burdi, a hard-throwing right-handed prospect who underwent Tommy John surgery in May.
Garcia was unfazed by the trade rumors when he took the mound at Dodger Stadium on Friday night, one day after nearly being sent to the Twins. The veteran left-hander allowed three runs over seven innings and highlighted his evening with a grand slam off Alex Wood.
As the Twins attempt to enhance their postseason hopes by addressing their rotation concerns, they are gaining an experienced hurler in Garcia, who has produced a 4.30 ERA in 18 starts, and avoided the injury woes that have plagued his career. The 31-year-old southpaw allowed at least five runs during each of his final four starts before the All-Star break, but he has since completed strong seven-inning outings against the D-backs and Dodgers.
"I wish him nothing but the best," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "He's a great guy and he's a pro. He'll be an asset to the Minnesota Twins. We'll be following him and wishing him nothing but the best."
Ynoa was ranked as MLBPipeline's 17th-best international prospect in 2014. He is the younger brother of White Sox reliever Michael Ynoa.