Braves trade for Iglesias to bolster 'pen

August 3rd, 2022

ATLANTA -- Braves president of baseball operations Alex Anthopoulos was late for Tuesday's press conference to announce Austin Riley’s contract extension. He was busy acquiring veteran closer from the Angels in exchange for Jesse Chavez and Tucker Davidson.

“Iglesias was someone we’ve had our eye on and it came together really late, like with two minutes to go,” Anthopoulos said.

The Braves will pay the remainder of Iglesias’ $10 million salary for this year and then pay him $16 million annually each of the next three seasons. This potentially sets up the 32-year-old reliever to serve as Atlanta’s closer after Kenley Jansen becomes a free agent at the end of this season.

Braves get: RHP Raisel Iglesias
Angels get: RHP Jesse Chavez, LHP Tucker Davidson

“That will be huge to have another right-handed guy down there who can close when Kenley is not available,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said.

By strengthening his bullpen with the addition Iglesias, Anthopoulos seemingly satisfied each of his needs before Tuesday’s 6 p.m. ET Trade Deadline. He spent Monday acquiring starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi, left fielder Robbie Grossman and utility man Ehire Adrianza.

Once a few other options dissolved, the Braves set their sights on Iglesias, who posted a 4.04 ERA and converted 16 of his 19 save opportunities for the Angels this year. His 3.17 FIP and 3.44 xERA indicate he has been victimized by some tough luck.

Iglesias can serve as either a setup man or occasionally spell Jansen as the closer down the stretch. The Braves could also soon activate Kirby Yates from the injured list and add him to what has the potential be a deep and efficient bullpen.

Chavez was one of the Braves’ most valuable relievers over the past two years, including after Anthopoulos managed to bring the veteran back in exchange for Sean Newcomb in April. But Atlanta traded Will Smith to the Astros for Odorizzi, and Chavez was potentially going to be the odd man out once Yates is activated.

“There wasn’t anybody in that clubhouse who wanted to see Jesse go,” Snitker said. “He’s been such a big part of what we’ve done the past couple years. You have to give up something, but we hate to give up Jesse because he’s just an unbelievable guy.” 

Davidson ranked as the Braves’ No. 5 prospect per MLB Pipeline. The 26-year-old left-hander posted a 4.26 ERA in three starts for Atlanta this year and a 4.59 ERA in 15 starts for Triple-A Gwinnett.