BALTIMORE -- The Orioles took another step in their rebuilding process on Sunday, trading reliever Brad Brach to the Braves in exchange for $250,000 of international signing bonus slot money. It's the first time in the organization's history that it has traded for international signing money.An integral component of the
BALTIMORE -- The Orioles took another step in their rebuilding process on Sunday, trading reliever Brad Brach to the Braves in exchange for $250,000 of international signing bonus slot money. It's the first time in the organization's history that it has traded for international signing money.
An integral component of the Orioles' rebuild will be a renewed focus on international free agents on top of getting younger, executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette has made clear. In trading Brach, the Orioles took a step in accomplishing both goals, and were able to send the five-year Oriole to a contender in the process.
"He gets to go to a team that is pursuing a pennant race with young players, so he is a good veteran presence and he will be reunited with people he played with down in Atlanta to help stabilize their club and accomplish their goals," Duquette said of Brach. "I want to congratulate Brad personally, because he did a terrific job during his time here. I was very proud of the work that he did."
With $5.75 million in international pool money at his disposal, Duquette added, the team is expected to announce the signing of "some" international free agents starting this week.
"My strategy on the international market is to get there first, see the player first, and develop a relationship with the family and then make a good investment, get as many good young players as possible," Duquette said. "There's a lot of interest in the international market because of the quality of the players and the finite number of bonus slots that clubs can utilize, so it's a pretty interesting time right now, but it's a good opportunity for the Orioles to get back in that market. We hope to sign a couple of international players this week. We hope to announce that we have signed some young international prospects from the Dominican and Venezuela.
"… The club has established a clear direction. We have traded veteran players for younger players, and we're going to, with the support of ownership, rebuild the roster, and we're going to sign some international players. We're going to sign some this week, and that will be the start of it."
As for Brach, who the Orioles acquired via trade from the Padres in the 2015 offseason, he's relieved that the whirlwind of his first Trade Deadline as a target has come to an end. Heading to Atlanta -- on top of competing for a pennant -- he'll reunite with former Orioles Nick Markakis and Ryan Flaherty on top of pitching assistants Dom Chiti and Dave Wallace.
"I'm glad that this waiting period is done and I know I'm going somewhere, or if I was going to stay here that's fine," Brach said. "But like I said, it's nice that the 31st is closed and I knew where I'm going, where I'm going to spend the rest of the year, which is definitely a huge burden off my mind."
For the New Jersey native Brach, Baltimore was like a homecoming. He experienced a rebirth with the Orioles, transitioning from a long reliever when he arrived to proving he can close, be a set-up man and anything else under the sun. He earned his first All-Star appearance with Baltimore in 2016, and never gave up a run in both Orioles postseason berths during his tenure.
Though his 4.85 ERA through July this season is his highest of any year in which he's appeared at least 10 times and two years removed from a 2.05 ERA in an All-Star 2016, Brach was an attractive trade piece for many clubs, due in part also to the veteran presence he can bring.
"It was something that I'll never forget," Brach said of his time in Baltimore. "Just looking at the path that's happened the last four years, it's kind of crazy because it almost felt like it was dead, and now I have all the opportunity in the world to get a world championship ring and continue my career after that."
Zachary Silver is a reporter for MLB.com based in Baltimore. Follow him on Twitter at @zachsilver.