Dodgers come out on top of 3-team deal
LA acquires three starters, bullpen help, top prospect in trade with Marlins, Braves
There were many moving parts to the three-team, 13-player (and a Draft pick) deal involving the Dodgers, Braves and Marlins, announced officially on Thursday afternoon.
Los Angeles acquired starting pitchers Alex Wood, Mat Latos and Bronson Arroyo, relievers Jim Johnson and Luis Avilan, slugger Michael Morse and infield prospect Jose Peraza. The Dodgers also received cash considerations from both clubs.
Atlanta received touted Cuban infielder Hector Olivera, injured reliever Paco Rodriguez and Minor League pitching prospect Zach Bird from Los Angeles.
Miami received Minor League pitchers Jeff Brigham, Victor Araujo and Kevin Guzman from the Dodgers and sent a Competitive Balance Draft pick to Atlanta.
It will take some time for the dust to settle on this one, but let's take a closer look at the acquisitions for each of the teams involved in this mega-trade.
Los Angeles Dodgers
There's little question that the Dodgers came away as the winners in this deal, bringing in five big league pieces and an outstanding prospect in return for Olivera and three Minor League arms. At the very least, they were able to upgrade their rotation behind Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw, as well as their bullpen.
Wood has been one of the more effective left-handed starters in baseball since he got up to the big leagues in 2013. Just 24 years old, he's not even arbitration-eligible until 2017 -- a serious bargain for Los Angeles, or wherever he may end up. Latos is a rental who will be a free agent at the end of this season, but while he's had an uneven 2015 season, including dealing with a left knee issue, he's pitched better of late and has looked more like the guy who has won 14 games three times and has a career 3.43 ERA and 13.7 WAR.
On top of all the big leaguers the Dodgers received, they also got Peraza, the No. 1 prospect on the Braves' Top 30 list at the time of the trade. Ranked No. 30 on the recently revamped Top 100 list, Peraza had been playing second base largely because of Andrelton Simmons' presence in Atlanta. But the 21-year-old has the skills to play shortstop if needed (the Dodgers do have top prospect Corey Seager) and has plus speed. Peraza's offense has suffered a bit with the move to Triple-A, with his OPS dropping over 100 points from 2014, but he's still way ahead of the curve developmentally. He slots in as the Dodgers' No. 4 prospect.
It's not as if there was no cost involved for the Dodgers. They did part ways with Olivera, who they coveted so much that they signed him to a $62.5 million deal in May. They're on the hook for the $28 million signing bonus and the bulk of his $2 million salary in 2015. But the rest of it -- $32.5 million for 2016-20 -- now belongs to the Atlanta Braves.
The key acquisition for the Braves is clearly Olivera, the infielder they would have loved to have signed in the first place, but couldn't afford. With more than $28 million of that shaved off the top, Atlanta's front office clearly felt the price was right.
Olivera has the chance to be an impact bat, one that has power and run-producing capabilities. He hit .387 and slugged .581 in his first seven games at Triple-A, and he likely would've been called up by the Dodgers after the All-Star break if he hadn't landed on the disabled list on July 13 with a hamstring injury. Olivera is capable of playing multiple positions in the infield, though there have been concerns with his injury questions, including buzz about a left elbow issue in advance of him signing.
Rodriguez has proven to be an effective left-handed reliever when healthy. The 24-year-old has been on the shelf since the end of May, and he is on the 60-day DL, following surgery to remove loose bodies from his elbow. Bird, ranked No. 15 on the Dodgers' Top 30 list at the time of the trade, settles in at No. 13 on the Braves' list. He's a bit of a project, but has good raw stuff, particularly in the arm-strength department. Bird's secondary stuff is still a work in progress, but his fastball has improved and sits in the mid-90s, and he has the ability to reach back for more.
Atlanta can also say that it added a bit by subtraction. Righty Arroyo, rehabbing after Tommy John surgery, was sent to Los Angeles, saving the Braves a bit of the $12 million salary they inherited from the D-backs in June's trade involving Phil Gosselin that also netted them right-hander Touki Toussaint, their No. 4 prospect. Arroyo has a club option for $11 million in 2016 as well.
The Braves also get the Marlins' Competitive Balance Round A pick, currently pick No. 35, in the deal. It's clear John Hart and company like extra picks. Atlanta dealt for two extra picks in advance of the 2015 Draft, selecting five times total in the first two rounds. But as valuable as that is, the key to this is how productive Olivera can be, and how quickly.
Miami did add three young arms to the system, but none of them profile as impact-type pitchers. The best of the bunch might be right-hander Brigham, who was the Dodgers' No. 28 prospect and will slide in at No. 22 on the Marlins' Top 30 list. Brigham, who had Tommy John surgery, has arm strength, with his fastball touching 97 mph at times, and he shows glimpses of a good hard slider. Command issues, the lack of a consistent third pitch and his size (6-feet, 200 pounds) has many thinking he'll end up in the bullpen.
Araujo is already pitching as a reliever. After being fairly dominant in that role in the Midwest League in 2014, he's been more hittable this year, though he continues to miss bats (9.9 K/9) with his sinking 90-94 mph fastball and low-80s slider. Araujo becomes the Marlins' No. 30 prospect. Guzman is a 20-year-old who'd been pitching in the Midwest League as part of Great Lakes' rotation, making the jump from the Rookie-level Arizona League in '14 to full-season ball.